abundance, adversity, development of the soul, easy believism, fire, God puts soul in life, God refines us, God tries us, God's presence and breath, James Lane Allen quote, places burdens upon us, Psalms 66, slipping and falling, water
Many of the Psalms are concerned about slipping, falling, and stumbling in our walk with God. Songs in general are good about reminding us of life’s hazards. Psalm 66 reminds us that it is God … “Who keeps us in life, And does not allow our feet to slip.”
The first part of this verse literally means … “God puts the soul in life.” Isn’t this good? It is God who puts soul, zest, meaning, and purpose in life. Without His presence and breath we would never achieve anything. We would end up falling, slipping, and careening into a soulless ditch.
How does the Lord accomplish this? According to the rest of this Psalm, God…
- tries us,
- refines us,
- brings us into a net,
- lays oppressive burdens upon us,
- causes men to run over our heads,
- takes us through fire, and
- takes us through water.
Then afterwards, He brings us out into a place of abundance!
I don’t know about you, but I have been guilty of only praying for the abundance part… not for all the other difficulties. I’ve got enough problems without God laying more on my plate. This is one of the issues people do not understand about the Lord, because a type of easy believism has crippled many believers. Many have falsely concluded anything too difficult and hard could not originate from God. This is what the psalmist is communicating. It is the Lord who brings us to these crisis points in life… in order that we might choose Him and come to know Him more intimately. This is God’s process of developing our souls.
Understand, if you are going to pray and believe God for abundance, then get ready because God is interested in something far greater… the development of your soul! In order for you to become all the Lord believes you to be, He just might have some hardships and difficulties waiting for you. He doesn’t want you to slip and fall so God is in the process of preparing your soul ahead of time. Get Ready!
Blessing – From God’s Incubator,
a praise of sacrifice, accuse God, adversity, God believes in His children, Hebrews 13:15, hell breaking loose, learning something new, pain, Paul Billheimer quote, praise must leave our lips, sacrifice of praise, satan, Satan's chief accusation, Satan's logic, sorrow, Watchman Nee quote
I wrote a blog last week about “Becoming Fixed On Praise”. Sometimes “keeping our praise on” is not easy.
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give (confess) thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15
A “sacrifice of praise” appears to be an oxymoron. Anything sacrificed in the Bible was offered up and killed. How can such a beautiful word be associated with sacrificial offerings? Maybe if we turned it around and called it a “praise of sacrifice”, it would make more sense. Praise doesn’t carry a death sentence, but the one offering it, the worshiper does! Paul Billheimer relates –
One must sacrifice his own judgment, his own opinion, his own evaluation of what is right and good, and “praise God always for all things” including the good, bad and indifferent.
The most difficult thing to do when all hell is breaking loose is to praise God. Every reflex tells us to blame our circumstances, blame people and accuse God of malfeasance. We learn through the story of Job – Satan believes that if he sends enough pain, sorrow, and adversity our way, we will collapse under the weight and curse God. Satan’s chief accusation towards God is always… if good is removed from God’s children, they will hate Him. Satan sees to it everyday …. to apply negative pressure to our lives to get us to agree with him. Have you been guilty of agreeing with him lately?
Conversely, the Lord believes in His children. He believes if pressure is applied to our lives, we will be driven closer to Him. So when the going gets tough and it always does… the tough believer should offer a “sacrifice of praise”. This means we are dead to making accusations against God. We refuse to follow Satan’s logic and blame our Creator. A sacrifice of praise is choosing then to believe God is good. God is great and all His dealings with us personally are just and right. We are dead to believing any differently…no matter what the outward circumstances dictate.
One other issue… A “sacrifice of praise” isn’t really a sacrifice or praise until it leaves our lips. The goodness and greatness of God must be our confession in difficult times. If you want to be one of those believers who drives Satan crazy, then praise God when everybody else has already cursed Him and left. Praise God when you don’t understand, when you can’t make sense out of life. Choose to praise God when every bit of physical evidence says God is wrong and Satan is right. Choose by loosening your lips to praise God anyway!
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,
The story of Abraham does not go far until Abraham’s faith is tested. This story encourages me because it seems I never go far with a “word” from God until I run into stiff resistance. We all can learn from Abraham’s failures, not just his successes.
We are not expected to do everything right! We are expected to correct ourselves once we discover disobedience. Like Abraham, what Christian has not discovered what it is to lose his/her sense of joy and awareness of the presence of Christ? This is the story about blowing it and then allowing God to fix it.
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. (Genesis 12:10 RSV)
The land of Canaan was and still is like parts of California — wonderful land with a magnificent climate, but dependent upon a limited amount of rainfall. When it fails to rain consistently, the land experiences drought. Abram was a man with flocks and herds, and when the rains failed, his livelihood was severely threatened. As the scarcity of food grew, he felt driven to leave, even though God had called him to be there.
Abram took counsel, not from God, but from his fears alone. To use a contemporary expression, he “pushed the panic button” or the “easy button” and down to Egypt he went. It was fear that drove him. If we do not allow the Lord to speak, then we will be left to only one voice and on most occasions it will be our fears.
I am asked the question all the time, “Do I have to ask God’s permission for every little thing I do? I mean, come on now, I thought I was free? Can’t I decide a few things in my life?” The answer is yes you can. In fact, you can make all the choices in your life if you wish. But if you want to discover the absolute best and avoid the pits like Egypt, then you will want to consult God as much as possible.
Abraham’s life is an example of what it means to “side step” seeking the will of God. By faith Abraham walked right into Canaan. By fear of famine Abraham walk right out of God’s promises into Egypt.
If Canaan is a symbol for us of what it means to experience fellowship with the Lord, and Egypt symbolic for the world … then a famine is any circumstance that threatens our dependence upon God. It is any circumstance that makes faith difficult to maintain. In short, famines are any threats, real or imagined, against the known will of God in our lives.
Have you ever experienced a famine? Have you ever been living in the full joy of fellowship with Christ and suddenly some circumstance beyond your control blew into your life? Because of the presence of that circumstance (famine) it became difficult to maintain fellowship and hold on to God’s promises.
Understand this right now: Famines come to everyone. With Christ or without Christ everyone has famines. “It rains on the just and unjust.”
When famine strikes the temptation will always be to flee rather than to fight and stick it out. No one enjoys trials. Our internal flight mode kicks in. We move to another neighborhood, change jobs, take a trip, or go home to mother. If we simply cannot flee, we try to run away mentally. We escape the unpleasant reality by a flight into unreality. It is easy to escape mentally to Egypt and float down the river of (De Nile) where life seems much more pleasant than it is in reality.
A few years ago people would lapse into daydreaming. (There used to be songs about daydreaming.) Now we mentally vegetate electronically via the television, computer, or video. Many live in the realm of fantasy all day long.
Whenever we attempt to satisfy the Spirit using the same resources of the world, we have gone down to Egypt. Compromise will never complete or satisfy the word God has for you. After God told Abraham to go into Canaan and possess the land as an inheritance, Egypt could offer nothing better. Compromise is a poor substitute to the promises of God.
Abraham’s flight into Egypt is not a warning that we should have nothing to do with worldly people. We are expected to live our lives in the midst of the world and its ways. This story is about staying with God’s resources instead of leaning once again on Egypt. Once you choose Egypt you will eventually adopt the attitudes, the expectations, and resources of the world. The point is to never forsake God and His resources in the first place.
The world is not the believer’s problem. The world will always be the world. Our problem is failure to trust the Lord amidst hard times.