Monday, December 28, 2009

Lessons from Chuck Part IV

Today's chapter in the book Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll is titled, "Inferiority: Contagious Plague of Self-Doubt."
  • Guilt frequently does breed inferiority.

  • Some organs of the body that seem weak may be very important. If some of the organs you never see were not there - my, how the body would suffer! Some of you readers in the family of God are made to be unseen, yet vital, organs. The vital organs are the unseen ones, by the way. Stop and think about that. Hidden away behind a stretching of skin and bones and muscles ar those vital, unseen organs. When you begin to feel, "I am not as useful as (and you name that person)," remember that the body's vital organs are not really the ones that are seen.

Lessons from Chuck Part III

There is just so much good stuff in the book Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll, that I have no idea how many parts there will be by the time I'm finished. Today I will begin with his chapter on temptation:
  • "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11: 24,25)

  • The passing pleasures of sin. What an eloquent expression - and true! Is sin pleasurable? You bet! It's so pleasureable that people will risk their reputations to taste its flavor. In doing so, all the efforts of our minds to alert us to sin's dangers are neutralized. We turn off the internal warnings as we turn on the desire.

  • Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.

  • We must tell ourselves over and over, "It will not satisfy! In the end I will have to face unbelievably painful consequences. I will not yield!"

  • When the Word of God is stored up in our minds, it stands ready to strike.

And next, his chapter on Mistakes: Inevitable marks of imperfection:

  • Talking about the rebellion of Adonijah, son of David... "Part of the problem was a father who never crossed the son."

  • You'll discover, after the grave and painful ramifications of making a mistake, that it is only to God that you can commit your spirit at that time. No other person can give the comfort you need. On the heels of a mistake, get on your knees, fall before God, and lay out your shame and humiliation. No one else can heal you of that sense of shame and self-disappointment.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lessons from Chuck Part II

Today is Part II of interesting things I underlined in the book I just finished reading titled Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll.

  • On why Jesus asked Philip where they were to buy bread to feed 5,000 men: "Philip was probably not the smartest one in the group. (I personally believe Judas was the sharpest of the Twelve. That is often true of wolves and false prophets, by the way). And Philip was not the one in charge of supplies. Judas was the treasurer, but He didn't ask Judas. Why? "And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what he was intending to do." Jesus knew what He was intending to do. He always does!... All the Lord wanted Philip to way was, "I don't know. It's impossible with me, but it's nothing to You, and I'm going to wait and see what You're going to do."

  • We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

  • Waiting is the rule rather than the exception in life. The exception is an open door; when you have one - go! They don't happen very often! But waiting when the door is closed doesn't mean you're out of the will of God. You could be right in the center of His will.

  • We grow and we learn - not when things come our way instantly - but when we are forced to wait.

  • Ask the Lord to give you the strength to endure the lingering test of patience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Perspective

An excerpt from Three Steps Forward, Two Steps back by Charles Swindoll:

"But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold
[implying that there will be an end to it].
My foot has held fast to His path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
But He is unique and who can turn to Him?
And what His soul desires, that He does.
For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such decrees are with Him." (Job 23:10-14).

How marvelous! This is the hardest thing in the world to claim. When I've lost it all and I turn to a verse like that and it says, "He's appointed it for me," do you know what I have to do? I have to change my perspective. I have to force myself to see it from His point of view. What is often considered a loss now leads to a gain later. The Lord restored Job's fortunes, and He increased all that he had - twofold. He doubled his prosperity!

Now be careful not to make this specific situation into a general principle. It's easy for us to think, "Okay, I had a $33,000-a-year job. Now that I've lost it, God's going to give me a $60,000-a-year job next month. Everything is going to be great! My checkbook will always car won't ever break down." That kind of thinking reduces Almighty God to Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and Aladdin's Lamp all wrapped up into one. Our Lord's blessings aren't always tangible or measurable in dollars and cents.

When He rewards after loss, He builds internal character traits. He gives a deep peace. He provides things money cannot touch. Security replaces insecurity. We receive purpose and renewed direction. We gain an understanding, compassionate heart - along with wisdom we never had before.


Something from Nothing

I'm backtracking a little bit today, but I just found some interesting passages as I was studying recently. Remember back when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and even after that, they kept complaining? They would rejoice when they saw God's provision, but as soon as a little bit of time passed and they could not see the next step, they began complaining and thinking they would have been better off back in Egypt working as slaves under Pharoah... where life was horrid, incidentally.

I was reading today in Numbers 11. After the Israelites complained in the desert about having nothing to eat, the Lord rained down Manna from heaven to fill their bellies. After a little time of this, they got tired of Manna and started complaining again. If my mom was there, she would have told them "beggers can't be choosers!" How dare they complain that God's provision was not good enough for them? "If only we had meat to eat! ...we never see anything but this manna!" Doesn't it make you want to just reach right into the pages and slap them?

I think the Lord's response is pretty funny. He did decide to give them meat. So much meat, in fact that they would eat it "until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it..." Hey, is that where the phrase "coming out the nose" come from? Hmm.

When Moses learned of this, in his human nature, he questioned God about where all of this meat was going to come from? They would not have such an overabundance of meat even if they had slaughtered all the flocks and herds and caught all the fish in the sea.

Oh, but Moses, who ever said that God can only do what we imagine? I am asking this question as if I have never been in that position. Now there is something to smirk about. I do this all the time. I'm so grateful for stories like this in the Bible of these great men of God who were praised for their righteousness, but were also just regular people just like me. If they had never questioned, I would never have had the opportunity to see God's answer.

So what was God's answer, you ask? Numbers 11:31 says, "Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction."

Only God can make something from nothing.