4. Be greedy – it’s good for you!

That’s the truth – there is good greediness. In our hour of need we are not timid. We ask for the full package, the whole promise – and that’s how it should be.

Before we explore this very exciting principle, let us establish a core principle for success in living the Word.

Write it down.

Whatsoever God communicates with you through His Word and the wondrous outcome of circumstances submitted to prayer, must be written down. Problems tend to manifest in scary disguise that robs us of faith. Panic wrecks our memory of God’s wonderful pathway of provision. The enemy will present as a unique and overwhelming flood of complications.

The miraculous power of our own testimony carries us through future crises. In your journal your unique description of the problem, the prayer and the promise will become the powerful encouragement that will remind you of miracles and answer to prayer. You will praise God through your journal and in the presence of the people.

Journaling is our pebbles of perpetuity. Every stone that is marked with a miracle is the foundation of our sacrifice of praise and gratitude. If you are quiet and stunned in panic, your stones will call out. They will remind you of your loving Father Who already have the outcome and answer ready. Luke 19:40: 

But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

In Isaiah 55 God invites the thirsty to come to the waters and drink to the full. This reminds us of the promise of blessing to those who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Matthew 5 promises an enviable happiness and life joy for those who are greedy for God. The blessing implies the full satisfaction of the hunger and thirst. This is not a partial promise; it is the full package deal. His Word will quench your very need and every desire.

Pause and absorb the full meaning of the word blessing as we find it in the Amplified Bible:

Blessed = happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions; with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace.

This is a promise that sustains us through life whatever our circumstances might be. It is not a mindless acceptance of every problem and negative circumstances. It is rather the submission of problems and circumstances to the powerful working of God’s blessing to change you and your circumstances. The problems we are facing will serve as the field of action for our greatest miracles. The process of spiritual and mental growth is mostly a greater miracle than the supernatural outcome and provision. We cannot leave a crisis unchanged. Deep within our spirit the Holy Spirit works to renew our thinking. This is a spectacular miracle.

In the second part of Isaiah 55:1 a purchase is mentioned.

Yes, come, buy priceless, spiritual wine and milk without money and without price; simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing.

Is redemption and salvation not free? Off course it is free, but never cheap. The cost was a life. Jesus died to purchase our salvation. We accept His cross and receive the full redemption of sin. This is the start of a process of growth in which we will visit the Kingdom store of Revelation 3:18:

Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be truly wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see.

There we will buy three items. This purchase is not made with money, but with experience. As we receive the special insight into the full measure of Grace that sustains us through our life, we will be rich with the gold that has been refined by the fire of our crisis.

Sin exposes us to the world. God covers us in beautiful heavenly robes of righteousness through the blood of Christ. It is not our own efforts that clothe us. The Cross declares us righteous.

Eye ointment will be our focus on the Word that reveals God in His almighty splendour. Our perspective – our inner eyes – changes so that the problem is diminished and fear is crushed.

The crises of life bring us to a place of hearing and learning. Here we are open to revelation knowledge. This is our gold, cleansed by fire. In the fire and pain of problems, God reveals His promise and encouragement. His word is alive and is spoken into our inner being. This is a rhema-word; the spoken word. It is words that will heal and restore you supernaturally, so that you can face life with the courage and wisdom necessary to change your circumstances.

As quoted in Pebbles number 2, I have to repeat the words of Jesus in John 6:63: [The Message]

Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life making.

All increase in life comes by His Word. Back to Isaiah 55 in The Message translation. This is what God wants for us:

Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, 
fill yourself with only the finest.
 Pay attention, come close now,
 listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.

Could we ever grow in God to a place where we will welcome the refiner’s fire? Problems tend to surprise me and catch me off-guard. Many times we live with constant pain and brokenness in our body, relationships or other circumstances. God will break the Bread (His word) daily for us to be strengthened and revived.

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.

[Hebrews 10:36]

But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. [The Message]

The Greek word for steadfast patience and endurance is a composition of two words: hupo + mone. Hupo means “under” and mone means “to remain”. It describes the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resist weariness and defeat. [According to Strong’s Bible Concordance]

The promise of outcome is sure. Your victory is guaranteed. These wonderful words of Jude 24 are a joy to my heart – always:

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present you unblemished, blameless and faultless before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation – with unspeakable, ecstatic delight —

There is no place for doubt. God said it. He will do it. And – He will do it for you! Philippians 1:6:

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

There is no doubt. God said it. Psalm 91:14:

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

 

Isaiah 55 – the conversation continues… 

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3. Heaven on the move.

[This post has been updated with more information in the written piece than in the video]

We have established God’s involvement as soon as we get busy with His Word, according to Malachi 3. The joyful promise of our names being written in the Book of Remembrance, combined with God’s declaration that we are His treasure and His precious jewels, should fill us with expectation and energy. The study of God’s Word, the Bible, is not solely human; it has a supernatural response built into it.

Anybody who chooses to commence with this very unique study of the most well preserved ancient writings in the world is privileged to learn from the powerful history of God’s dealings with man from the earliest times. We live day by day, but an eagle’s view of history affords us a hop, skip and jump over thousands of years – backwards.

David lived more or less 1000 years before Jesus walked the earth. It is always such a joy to read his psalms and find strength and purpose in the way He rejoiced in the same wonderful Father that we worship today. After David, his son Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, which was by far the grandest building in the ancient world at the time and symbolized the climax of the Hebrew civilization. Solomon took pagan wives and fell into idolatry. The divided heart of the king left a divided kingdom. The north rebelled and formed Israel with the royal seat in Samaria and the south, loyal to David and Solomon, became Judah with Jerusalem as capital.

Israel had 19 kings until they were driven into exile by the King of Assyria and all those kings were labeled by the terrible words: and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. Judah had 20 kings and only eight of them were labeled by the commendation: he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, like his father David. We have talked about the worship of David and why he was a man after God’s own heart. Eventually Judah was also taken into captivity by the King of Babylon.

The history written in the books of Samuel and Kings is not a chronological, detailed history of the 400 years that Israel and Judah were ruled by kings, rather a selective narrative with a theological purpose. Opinions differ and there is no certainty, but most commentators accept that Jeremiah wrote most of it, not all. It is precious to see the spotlight of the author emphasizes people and events for religious significance with God in control of human affairs. Sometimes whole chapters are devoted to one person and other regents are only mentioned in a verse or two. The blessing of obedience to the Covenant relationship and the destruction as a consequence of disobedience is a golden thread throughout the stories.

Fly with me to the second book of Kings, chapter 22, the story of the young king Josiah.

He was only 8 years old when he became king on the death of his father. His great grandfather was Hezekiah, a godly king. His grandfather was Manasseh, an evil king whose sinful ways led the nation astray. The account of his abominations and idolatry takes up a full chapter. He is captured by the king of Assyria, led away by nose hooks and thrown into jail in Babylon. Alone and in pain he calls out to God, who forgives him and restores him on his throne – a wonderful confirmation of God’s forgiveness and restoration. His son Amon, ruled for two years, but learns nothing from his father’s humiliation and restoration. Amon was so evil that his servants conspired against him and killed him, causing Josiah to be crowned at the tender age of 8.

Even so young, he secured the most complimentary definition by which the reign of a king of Israel and Judah is described:

And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. [2 Kings 22:2]

There is no doubt that his zeal to serve God according to the ways of David, led him to the very special circumstances that would change the quintessence of his reign. Still very young he cleansed the land of bad religious habits and worship practices. Idolatry, corruption and symbols of foreign gods were eradicated. In the eighteenth year of his reign he tackles the long overdue repair on the Temple.

In every age of the history of Israel, especially during the reign of evil kings, the faithful remnant is protected and guided by God. People who served Him with pure hearts and devotion, diligently made their prescribed contributions for the maintenance of the Temple. This money is collected and brought to the high priest, Hilkiah. The money is then given to the foremen and workers, charged with the restoration of the building. As they worked, they discovered a book – most probably the parchment of the book of Deuteronomy – the Law as given to Moses. Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, the scribe, to present to the king.

After recounting how the book was found, Shaphan read it to the Josiah. Verse 11:

Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.

Josiah reacts with tears as he hears how far he is from pleasing God. The word of God touches his heart and stirs his spirit. He commands the priest to go out and enquire of the Lord on his behalf, concerning the words he has heard. Hilkiah and a few others appointed by the king went to Huldah the prophetess and wife of the keeper of the king’s wardrobe. (Could her husband have been a royal fashion designer?)

Huldah answers with a wonderful message of hope and restoration. God revokes the curse and calamity on Judah that would have been the result of the sin of his fathers, and declares restoration, abundance and wealth on the land and the people. Verse 18 and 19:

In the words of Huldah:

But as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, in this manner you shall speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Concerning the words which you have heard — because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord.

My heart jumps for joy when I hear this heavenly response to a humble and contrite heart, touched by God’s Word. Curses are revoked, blessing declared, people restored and the land healed. God is still the same God. Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His Word is forever. His Word called the world into being and flung the sun, moon and stars on their courses. That same Word speaks your world into order and health. Nothing is impossible for Him and He is a rewarder of those who seek him.

When we decide that we need divine intervention in our lives, maybe at a time when you realize that all your own scheming brought you nowhere, we hesitantly approach religion, church and all the traditional God-stuff with the prejudice of disappointment in the church and its people. It is good to remember that Christians are “under construction” and not perfect in any way. They are in actual fact the people who realize or at least should realize their own imperfections and failure in life. They have chosen a life of dependence on God. Unfortunately Christianity always runs the risk of losing sight of the Truth, which is a humble and contrite heart open to conviction by the Holy Spirit. When this happens, legalism with its evil twin pride, sit in judgment over other people without grace and love for which the church should be known. Love is the test. Love is the law in the Kingdom.

If you are disappointed by the church and Christianity, you are not alone. Many centuries ago, around the turn of the 13th, the Catholic friar, well known as St Francis of Assisi, said:

All the world would have been Christians if it weren’t for the Christians.

I chuckled when I heard this and relaxed a bit. My heart’s desire in this ministry is to bring a new understanding of how much your Father loves you. James 4:6, 10:

God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Humility is not a pathetic, false pretense of weakness. It is the powerful ability to know your gifts, talents and strength and to acknowledge your weaknesses. This insight is a gift of the Holy Spirit and enables you to choose wisely and decide constructively. Wisdom comes from God. Psalm 111:10:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

Humility is the only answer to arrogance and pride in others. This attitude of submission to God and His principles will lift you up in situations of shameless arrogance and unbearable boasting.

We as Christians have to learn about and exercise ourselves in these life-changing principles. We are not perfect and fail often. We can only achieve spiritual growth through the inner working of the Holy Spirit and not through our own efforts of good living. We give offence and cause others to stumble over the humanity of the church of Christ. Sometimes the realization of failure fills us with excruciating guilt and shame. If you are under the impression of offence given, bring it to the Lord in confession and prayer so that you can be lifted up in forgiveness and grace and be given the wisdom to repair and restore relationships.

If you have taken offence against the church of God (the universal church consisting of all Christians, including denominational factions) because of the judgment and conceit of church people, bring your hurt to God. Only He can heal the deep wounds of the spirit and renew you inner being to see His grace and love. We cannot let people hinder our walk with God. We need to fix our eyes on Him and Him only. He can never disappoint you. He is the Author of our salvation and the Finisher of our faith. Hebrews 5:9 and 12:2:

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,

Rejoice then in what we have and where we are going. We are never alone. We have our loving Father to guide, help, forgive, restore and bring us into triumphant living in Him through Jesus, no matter where you are at this moment. 1 Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

 

Until next time.

2. Your name is written.

Living a full life is a varied, exciting and risky business. In many ways our experiences shape us and leave us with some set ideas, either positive or negative. CS Lewis calls experience the “most brutal of teachers”. Every person on the face of the earth is willingly or unwillingly “collecting” experience. What then distinguishes the child of God from the so-called “others”? May I gently remind you that to become a child of God you must be born again and that is a calm, rational decision to surrender your life to God and begin a journey in the invisible Kingdom.

Our distinction lies in this decision. It makes all the difference. Our experience-collection is under the covering of the Grace of a loving and good Father. Nothing surprises Him ever – He is all-knowing and outside the limitations of time. We are born into His kingdom and therefore His principles and law of love and grace apply. We can only rejoice in this and make it our core business to learn His ways. What a privilege to live under an almighty Hand that works and leads beyond the earthly limitations of economics, politics, rejection, bias and every other life-monster that devours our joy and peace. God has a plan for your life. Not a carved-out granite pathway, which rules out your brain function. You will always make decisions and choices under His guidance. His plan for your life is for the maturing of your character to live a victorious life in your unique circumstances. By surrendering your life to Him, you will learn to choose and react according to His word and that will change your life as a whole.

I am sure you have often heard that most well known phrase: God is love. Familiarity reduced its powerful meaning to the importance of a cliché written on a fridge magnet. God is the source of love and everything He does is born out of love. His pathway for you is carved in love, absolutely nothing else. It might not always feel that way in this life where we are living in the domain of His enemy, but faith convicts us of this truth.

Studying the Word of God will teach us His ways, so that we can recognize the Hand of God in our lives. Filling our minds with His statutes will renew our thinking to see truth and guidance, where it is hidden. Our problems and struggles impair our vision and only the Word of God touches the eyes of our mind to see clearly with insight and understanding. This is the wisdom promised by the Holy Spirit. Practical wisdom to conduct our lives according to the decisions made with the working of the Holy Spirit within us.

Why would He equip us for life and grant us this mighty wonder of the Holy Spirit? Isaiah 43:4

Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life.

Hear the Word of God and believe so that you can live by it. He looks at you through the robe of righteousness that you are covered with. This robe you have received when you were born again and accepted the work of Christ on the cross. His blood is your righteousness. It is not through you own goodness or deeds that you can pray and receive wisdom. God gives it to you by His grace. James 1:5,6:

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God Who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering, no hesitating, and no doubting. For the one who wavers, hesitates, doubts is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.

God grants you wisdom and insight without blaming you for past sins. He is not in the blaming business. His response to a prayer for forgiveness of sin is always immediate with the promise of a clean slate. Isaiah 1:18:

Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.

Never ever compromise your spiritual confidence to the sharp accusations of the enemy to rob you of your freedom in prayer. Approach the throne of God in you quiet time with a humble confession of sin. You will have instant release. Only the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. He will always do it in perfect love so that you are healed and restored, not judged and wounded by the onslaught of guilt.

Throughout our journey together some scripture references will be quoted often. These passages in the Word are like the steady stones in a raging river. Memorize scripture that touches your heart. These will be reliable anchors to hold onto in stormy weather. One of the most favourites among these, you will find in the last book of the Old Testament, one of the 12 small prophets, Malachi, the third chapter. Malachi 3: 16,17:

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.

And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.

This is a treasure! God is actively involved in people who set their minds on Him and get busy in His Word, who think on His Name. Their names are written in a book of remembrance before the Lord with the promise of being His special possession, His jewels – precious in His sight.

This scripture is written as if the day of deliverance and the announcement of God regarding His jewels is far away in the future somewhere. Joel 1:15 declares that the day of the Lord is at hand and so does Zephaniah 1:7. The future tense emphasizes the consequential order of the promise. When we fear the Lord and think on Him, then He will write our names in the book. The promises of Scripture as a whole have immediate application and effect. Raise the level of your expectation towards the Source of life itself.

This brings us to a point of decision – to read, study, meditate and learn. The promise is that He will draw near, when we draw near. [James 4:8]. The first step towards God is ours. He has paved the way on the cross and the Holy Spirit work in our hearts to convict of sin and righteousness, leading us to redemption in Christ. When we come, He will meet us and make His written Word, the spoken Wordrhema – alive in our hearts.

In John 6:63 Jesus says:

It is the Spirit Who gives life. The flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.

Life-words are life changing. Make time to be alone with your Bible and state your determination before God to really learn to know Him. Only then can you be resurrected from dead works and start a brand new life in Christ. How do we achieve this? By knowing God intimately.

Please pray with me Philippians 3:10,11 in the Amplified Bible:

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power out flowing from His resurrection, which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope that if possible, I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body.

This wonderful statement is our goal. This is why we study. This is what we expect and the success of this intention is guaranteed.

Yes – I mean it. Your success is guaranteed! Here is the proof:

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present you unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation, with unspeakable, ecstatic delight. [Jude 24.]

God’s word will change you and your situation. He works for you. He will act for you. [Isaiah 52:10]

The Lord has made bare His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations [revealing Himself as the One by Whose direction the redemption of Israel from captivity is accomplished], and all the ends of the earth shall witness the salvation of our God.

This image of God rolling up His sleeves to get to work fills me with wonder and excitement. Who am I to be so loved that our Father would work on my behalf?

When you read the promise, lift up your hands and pray it:  [Psalm 119:48]

My hands also will I lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes.

 

Until next time.