It has been a difficult month and a half! There have been serious health issues, not life threatening, but painful and troublesome. They just do not seem to go away. There have been economic difficulties as a result and, to add insult to injury, overtime that I worked for a month was not compensated on my pay check. I was basically told the check is in the mail! This statement was basically issued by a County Government, none the less. I feel it is a sign of things to come if the economy does not improve. I keep my ear close to the ground and I was told by a fellow employee who has contacts in the halls of the County Courthouse that we were "given all that they have..." In other words, the county is almost out of money.
Prepare and pray; do not be surpised at what may be around the corner for the economy. After a letter of complaint regarding the issue employee's who worked overtime were given one day's pay! I worked 75 hours!
I do not know why I am speaking of a personal issue like this, but I feel it is a season we are entering on a national level, not just local government. I had a sense that this was going to happen; an inner sense, like God was preparing me for this event, in an effort to prepare me for larger events of this magnitude in the very near future. I specifically prayed on several occasions that this WOULD NOT HAPPEN!! Not now, I prayed. I need these funds now more than ever, I cried. But, to no avail. Nothing could stop what He had ordained. He heard my cries, His answer was no. A difficult answer I do not like to hear; but it is written, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Is this a truth? I mean, really true when one is in need of bread (a paycheck?).
I can unequivocally say yes, it is true. One can live by the bread, the manna of the Word. It is not easy; it is a lesson to be learned and I am an amature in that regard. But, in the evenings after coming home after working overtime, again, my spirit was feed and encouraged by His word. Many, many passages of Scripture in the book of Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and the book of Isaiah sustain me through difficult times. As dark as these times of difficulty seem, when there is only more darkness at the end of the tunnel, I have been instructed to greatly praise the LORD among the multitude! He has promised to stand at the right hand of the poor to save them from those who condemn their soul. The LORD said unto my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make your enemies your footstool (Psalm Chapters 109-110).
In the midst of my enemies, problems, and trials, the rod of His strength comes forth. In the day of His power, and in the beauty of holiness, from the womb of the morning; He has again given us the dew of our youth. IN THE MIDST of our enemies His rod comes forth. King David said He prepared a table before him IN THE MIDST of his enemies! In the middle of bad health, distress in finance, in times of family stress He suddenly appears, usually when all seems lost. If I grow downcast and downtrodden, when I force myself to spend quality time in His presence in prayer (even when my prayers seem to bounce off of the ceiling of my home or the roof of my truck!), suddenly, He appears. Usually, in these circumstances, I have finally learned, or am in the process of learning something He has been trying to teach me by using a difficulty.
There are other times when we are under direct attacks from the enemy of our soul. Again, I run to Him petioning Him for deliverance; like a small child running from a snake. There is a point of maturity for a child of God, I agree; but there is also a time of total, complete surrender to Him. In our culture, the more independent one is, the more admired and adored. It is not so in the Kingdom of God. The more dependent one is on Him, the more admired by Him we are. Even Christ said that He does nothing of His own, He speaks what He hears from the Father and He does what the Father would have Him do. Never did Jesus say, o.k., now it is My turn to show MY power; in seperation of the Father. He is the Almight God, the Ruler of All, the King of the Universe. There is never a time, nor will there ever be a time when we should act in independance from the Father.
In the most recent past when times were better, I cheerfully gave to quite a few ministries and I felt very, very good about it. In fact, when asked, I would readily give the list of organizations to which I contributed. Quite a list, I thought. Subconsciously I believe I felt I was moving up the ladder of spirituality by doing so.
I think that God is teaching me that no matter how much I gave, it did not increase His love for me. I can not "buy" holiness or closeness to God. I think God was seeing how I would react when the funds I was totally expecting and looking forward to would not come in! How holy would I feel if I could not give what I wanted to give this month? What about next month? I went into panic mode. What to do?
I trudged to Him in shame.
He is lovingly teaching me that it is ALL HIS anyway. The earth is the LORD'S and all of its fullness. Yes, I must donate and pay tithe; this is an important tenant of following Christ; helping the poor, visiting the sick, lifting the downcast and supporting ministries that do this on a national and worldwide level. But there are levels of learning of Him that can only be learned through rough times. I can say, He is a fantastic Teacher, the best of the best!!! No matter how hard my head is at times, He always has a way of getting my attention. It is all in His love.
In the still of the night, as I sit and think of the events of the days and weeks, the voice of my Beloved speaks. He comes leaping over my mountains and obstacles, skipping upon my hills that seemed so formidable over the past days. He is like a young deer leaping over everything that is thrown in His path! He stands behind the walls that I have built in my mind and heart and shows Himself thorough the spaces in my heart that have not started to harden. HE SPEAKS!
He says for me to arise! To come away! The rough times and the winter are past (because He is here!) The rain is over and gone; flowers are appearing on the earth; they are forcing their way through the hardened soil of my heart. It is the time for singing, and the voice of the turtle dove ( His peace) is in my land.
I have finally learned another portion of the lesson He has been trying to teach me; some things again, and again. It is time for rest in His presence. The fig tree is putting forth her fruit, the tender grape is starting to give off a fragrant scent. He says, Arise, My love, Arise, My fair one. And come away. It is time to enter into His rest for a season.
(Song of Songs2:8-13)
What is the purpose of such things? I believe the deeper one goes with God, the more severe the trials and tribulations. He inhabits even the darkest of the dark places of the universe. Even darkness is light to Him. In the times of the darkness of our soul; which may last only momentarily, but sometimes for weeks, months or possibly years, He is girding us with strength to go to battle and while we are in the battle. Strength comes only from Him, I have none. Jesus said He can do nothing without the Father. He will, and is subduing under us people, circumstances, events and troubles that rise up against us. The mountains will melt like wax at His Presence.
He will give us the necks of our enemies. He will destroy those who hate the God that is shown through us.
In our most difficult of times; we must learn to shout with a loud voice and in our hearts, THE LORD LIVETH; AND BLESSED BY MY ROCK; AND LET THE GOD OF MY SALVATION BE EXALTED!
IT IS GOD THAT AVENGETH ME, AND SUBDUETH THE PEOPLE (AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES) UNDER ME!
God has described Himself as a quickening Spirit. As we call out to Him in our good times, and in our difficult times, we are assured and confident that if we continue to wait upon the LORD, we will arise, we will mount up with wings as eagles, we will run and not grow weary and walk and not grow faint.
HIS WAYS are beyond comprehension; blessed be His Name. What a Father we have! Such blessed children we are!!
Have a great week thinking upon Him.