Crystal Writes A Blog

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Making God…


Indiana Fireworks 2015

Fireworks from Patoka Lake, Indiana, July 2015 by Crystal A Murray. In camera and post editing for sparkle and framing. (C) All Rights Reserved

It’s August 1st, and I have decided to force myself back into daily blogging. My goal is to have a different topic for each day of the week, and since the first fell on a Monday, I’ll start with what I’m calling Musably Monday. On Mondays, I will share my thoughts on any variety of topics, sometimes fresh ideas and sometimes the old stuff I keep in various files and rarely share. For my first post back, here’s a little something I thought about upon waking up one morning last week.

I woke thinking about gifts I’d like to have in my spiritual life; gifts like others have and like I think I should have since I’m a dedicated believer. I mean, if prophecy and healing and faith and visions are so necessary for these end times, surely anyone truly serving Almighty God can have them just for the asking, right? And if one does not have them, that person must be lacking in something they need to be doing to receive such gifts. Maybe we have not just because we ask not, or maybe something else is required to earn and deserve a taste of the abundance God has to offer. After all, so many Christians talk about the gifts and anointings they have received from God as if those gifts are badges of honor, it gives the unspoken message there must be something special about the people and/or behaviors of those who walk in spiritual gifts.

My mind immediately went to the following thought: I wonder what I can do to make God give me…. And there, I stopped. The words make God stuck in my thoughts as not fitting for my relationship with the Great Creator I serve. He is the one on the throne. He is the one who set the universe in order. He is the source of all. Who am I to think I can make God be or do anything? Almost immediately, before climbing out of bed, I got my phone out and began typing more on the subject.

MAKING GOD…

I see many people these days who are pushing to make God this or that. They think by their prayers and certain behaviors, they can change God instead of changing themselves to become better vessels more yielding to Him and His perfect will. Too many want to make Him…

  • A God who does what we want.
  • A God who does whatever we claim in Jesus’ name.
  • A God who gives us dreams.
  • A God who fulfills our dreams.
  • A God who tells us everything in advance.
  • A God who will give us a perfect life if only we have enough faith.
  • A God who only talks to certain people doing certain behaviors in certain ways.

Because of these modern teachings, I sometimes find myself asking God what I need to do in order to get Him to: heal me, bless me, fix me, fix others, etc. But, in all truth, I don’t want to “make God” anything He is not. I have no desire to control Him. If I could manipulate Him, He would no longer be God.

Instead of trying to control Him by asking the right questions or perfecting my earthly works, I just want to walk in His presence and get to know Him better and better. I desire to do what pleases Him. I want to come boldly before His throne of grace, not to get Him to do anything for me or give anything to me, but to cleanse and perfect myself in His mercy that I may learn more about how to uplift Him to a lost a dying world.

As I heard stated recently, it’s not the abundance of darkness and sin that cause us problems; it’s the lack of light. We have no shortage of things set against God and His holy word, but it only takes a little light to drive out darkness. We have a promise in John 12:32 that if our Savior is lifted up above the earth (and I believe that would include the works of earthen vessels–good and bad), He WILL draw all men unto Himself. We don’t have to try and make God do anything for us or others. We ask, we trust, and He answers. It is always His will to give us whatever gifts and tools we need to lift Him up because it is never His will that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)

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August 1, 2016 Posted by | Devotion, Musably Monday, Nonfiction, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Have Thine Own Way, Lord


Do you remember the days of youth when personal decisions were not totally our own? We had to ask an adult for almost every plan we wanted to make. We often thought how we couldn’t wait to grow up, so we could do things without asking.

As adults, we don’t have much more freedom than we did in youth because we have a whole new lineup of authorities that want us to get their permissions. On one hand, people will tell us to follow our hearts, and on the other, some will try to make us feel guilty for acting without seeking their opinions. Of course, we should seek opinions when our actions will affect others, but sometimes we’ve got to listen more to a “Higher Power.” In the Infinite Supply for November 16th, Chip Brogden speaks of Paul’s call to ministry  and what permissions he needed to move forward.

Infinite Supply Image for November Sixteenth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Sixteenth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 16

No Permission Needed

“When it pleased God… to reveal His Son in me…I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me.”
GALATIANS 1:15-17

Paul did not seek credentials, ordination, or affiliation with a human organization. He did not wait for anyone to confirm the call on his life. He did not seek for hands to be laid on him. Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ was renegade enough, but to preach the gospel to the Gentiles was a departure from the norm for the Christians at that time. It would later prove to be quite controversial and divisive. Prudence would dictate that it would be better to check with the other apostles and get their opinion and feedback before striking out in a new direction. Yet, Paul says once he obtained revelation he had no need to confer with flesh and blood.

Why? Because he was a maverick, an independent spirit, a rebel? No, it is only because the Revelation of Jesus is sufficient guidance. Flesh and blood cannot add to or take away from the Revelation.

Source: Lord of All by Chip Brogden

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Have you ever felt called or inspired by God to make a move in a particular direction? In any of those times, did you second-guess that call and seek the opinions or permissions of others first? I know I have, and sometimes it has stopped me from moving in obedience to God. I remember a time when I even stopped myself from praying for a girl in public because I was afraid my pastor at the time would not approve. I regret that, but I also know that time is in God’s hands, so I trust He sent someone to her in my place.

In our walks with God, there should always be balance. That means, we will have things that require permission, and maybe opinions. It also means there will be times when we must move forward in faith to what God speaks to our spirit. Sometimes, what He speaks might be to wait or stop, but whatever we do, obedience to His Holy Spirit is what matters most. As Chip says above, obeying God without seeking permission from men does not make us rebellious to people, it just makes us fully obedient to God.

God’s ordination is far more valuable than any ordination or permission, but if we’re not sure we’re hearing from Him, we will need to seek flesh and blood for confirmation. Here’s how Paul states it in 2 Peter 1:10 (NKJV)…

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.

Never stumble; wow. What a promise. But if we are His sheep, we will know our Shepherd Yeshua’s voice, and we can be sure of His calling to us when He speaks. If we are sure we’ve heard from The Lord (if so, our direction should also line up with Scripture), we can move as He leads. May our hearts and actions say as the song below, “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Nonfiction, School of Christ, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Against God’s Will


I recently watched an interview with an author whose new book sounds quite interesting to me. The author is Johnnie Moore, and his book is What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life: God’s Will Demystified. Haven’t we all asked questions about God’s will in our lives? And haven’t we all been absolutely certain we’ve missed the mark and let God down? I know that many, if not all, of us have paid a price for a bad decision (or two) in our lives, and then we beat ourselves up with debilitating guilt for our failures.

The author of this book points out that God’s will is more about who you are than it is about where you are or what you are doing. In other words, if you make a decision to go to tech school instead of gaining a full college doctorate, you don’t have to wonder if tech school was against God’s will. Instead, you should simply make sure that you keep loving God with all your heart, soul and strength whether you are in school for one or eight years.

Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter talks about the real problem when people step out of God’s will; spiritual decline…

Infinite Supply Image for November Twelfth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Twelfth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 12

God’s Response to Spiritual Decline

“Who is he who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 JOHN 5:5

The Lord’s answer to a state of decline is to reveal Himself and His eternal purpose. Once the Lord has established for Himself a people that will represent His interests, then He will move immediately to secure, protect, establish, and strengthen the Remnant. Here is what I want us to see. When we align ourselves with God’s Thought, with God’s Kingdom, and with God’s Will in Christ, we are invincible.

Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden

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So, the answer to falling away from God’s will is to watch for God to reveal Himself. When we seek Him and find Him, we will also find His will. When we line ourselves up with God’s will, we have promises that have little to do with what we do in life and everything to do with who we are through the days of our lives.

I’ve always thought the Scripture promise of I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) was more about doing everything we do in Christ than using Christ to do more. If God’s will is to line up with who He created us to be, then for it to apply to all people, it would have to do with what we become in our spiritual selves. Otherwise, those with lesser abilities could be considered to be less in God’s will, and that makes no sense because God is no respecter of people.

I put the book on my “wish list” because I find the concept refreshing and freeing. The concept tells me that, even seeking God’s will, I may not make perfect decisions, and I may pay prices for some bad decisions. I will also make some good decisions and receive good rewards for those. But my prices and rewards have nothing to do with God’s will. They are simply the law of the harvest that all earth is created under; we will reap what we sow.

If I want to please God, my job is simply to keep seeking Him and yielding my heart to His Holy Spirit in the midst of whatever decision and whatever price or reward is in my life. It means I won’t blame Him for the outcomes in my life, and that frees me to love Him even more–no strings attached. It means I use guilt for nothing more than a reminder to repent, and then I let it go. I don’t have to let it torment me for years over “letting God down” or going against His will.

God’s most simple will is that no man should perish, so going against God’s will is just detaching ourselves from Him and moving away from His leading. If we love Him, we won’t want to do that no matter what other decisions we make in our lives.

November 13, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When God Builds Walls


Me, I’m not so good at dealing with walls. How about you? For me, a wall automatically seems like an invitation to stop and give up. I can press on over bumps and hills, but pressing through walls is a different story. Often, I feel guilty for not fighting harder. But what if I’m feeling guilty for nothing? What if walls going up have purpose in my life?

Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter by Chip Brogden from The School of Christ made me think of thinks a bit differently…

Infinite Supply Image for November Tenth by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Tenth by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 10

Why God Resists Us

“God resists the proud.”
JAMES 4:6

Our automatic assumption is that anything which resists us or hinders us is of satanic origin. Yet we learn from James 4:6 that there is Someone Else who can resist us. There is Another Who carefully watches what we do, and frequently hinders us from making progress. It comes as a shock and surprise to some Christians to see one day that God, not the devil, is resisting them. The Lord Himself resists us, closes doors, causes things to be unfruitful, and spoils all our plans. How so? Because “God resists the proud.”

This resistance from God is insurmountable. It is a fearful thing to fight the Lord. We spend most of our lives wrestling with God instead of cooperating with God, and in the end we have nothing to show for it. So much time and effort is wasted because we proceed in our own, stubborn way. We attribute all difficulties to the devil, or to other people, or our circumstances, or our environment, and fail to recognize that the Lord Himself is resisting us.

Source: Embrace the Cross by Chip Brogden

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I am in total agreement with the author that most of us consider resistance an attack from the enemy. We also tend to think that if things go easy, it must be a sign from God that we’re headed in the right direction. However, when we look at the secular world and see all the things that seemingly “go right” for so many there, we can see the flaws in our thinking. It rains on both the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on both the good and the evil. Some things just happen, but some things are a sign. So how are we to know?

I believe the author’s message, and the message of Scripture, hold the clue. If we couple the fact that God resists the proud with the knowledge that He disciplines those whom He loves, we can see that His resistance could possibly only be against the proud of those who love Him. That may be why we see unbelievers seemingly “getting away” with all their bad deeds. However, when we who serve Him are running full steam on our own power and forgetting Him, He just might build a wall to protect us from the destruction our pride could bring. After all, this Scripture is written to believers even though it’s to believers who are engaging in all kinds of sin.

So, next time you run into a wall, if you are a believer in God Almighty, consider the fact that He might be the Builder. If He has put some resistance in your path, it may simply be an invitation to slow down and pray. Seek His perfect will for your life, and become humble that you can find His grace…and maybe even a new door to walk through.

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Nonfiction, School of Christ | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Right to Arm Bears


Right to Arm Bears by Flickr User David Abse aka Gary Socrates, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Right to Arm Bears by Flickr User David Abse aka Gary Socrates, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

The full title of this image is “Purple Cat is Opposed to the Right to Arm Bears.” I certainly can see his point. I know most hunters would not like the idea of armed bears, or any armed wildlife either. Imagine the days when the only way you could eat meat was to go hunt and kill it yourself. You would not have wanted it to shoot back at you. But if you were to ask the bears and other game, they would all be against hunters being armed simply because most anything that lives will fight to continue doing so. Regardless of who brings the fight and who must defend themselves, we were made to want to live.

The right to protect ourselves from anyone who might harm us or our possessions is not a bad thing, but criminals who don’t want to risk their own lives while committing their crimes, and governments who don’t want to risk people stopping them from stepping over the line, are all in favor of taking away our rights to bear arms. But it takes a strong and armed generation of people (who are willing to fight) to keep the balance. As nice as it would be to think that disarming everyone would automatically generate peace, unless you could be sure that all people would keep Godly morals and follow The Golden Rule, that idea must be reserved for the new Heaven and the new Earth.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 2:2 through Deuteronomy 2:30, we will read about those who had the right to bear arms but didn’t do the right thing with it. Following all we’ve been studying so far in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is still telling the current generation of the children of Israel what events led them to where they are today. In this story I’ve noticed something new, and that is the detail that those who were forced to wander for 40 years to prevent their entrance into The Promised Land are now shown as soldiers only. Verse 14 states that it took 38 years from the time they left Kadesh-Barnea because they had to wait until every man capable of bearing arms was eliminated from the camp.

Now, just because they were trained to fight, they were not supposed to fight in every circumstance. As we read through today’s portion, we see cities where God told them to go through without fighting. When they got near Esau’s land, they were told to treat them well and to pay for all food and water they used while passing through. God reminded them that they did not need to fight because He is their provider and has given them everything they need.

When Israel crossed through the desert of Moab, God also told them not to fight there because He would not give them any of that land. Instead, He had given that territory to the descendants of Lot. The reading also mentions the fact that giants used to live in that land as well, and that makes me wonder if the men were ready to fight them there, but it was almost 40 years beyond when God intended for them to be giant killers.

As Moses continues the story, he talks of all the cities filled with giants (and men that may have been part angel in some theories) and how God went before the armies and displaced the inhabitants so those He chose could take possession. The children of Lot and the children of Esau apparently obeyed and followed God, so they were now living in their own lands of promise. But when God was ready for the sons of Jacob to have their part, and the old soldiers had been completely replaced, He told them to stop going in circles and prepare to take the land He prepared for them.

From what I read in that last part, it appears that Moab was not going to be part of it until Sichon, King of Heshbon, refused to even let the children of Israel pass through his territory. Because this evil king would not even sell food and water to his visitors, God hardened his spirit and made him an enemy that Israel would fight and defeat.

I’ve said before how uncomfortable all the war talk makes me, but at the same time, I know it’s necessary because all men do not live according to God’s righteous ways. Even in simple ways of doing business, there are times I wish God would force people to do the right thing, so I would never have the anxiety that comes from getting ripped off. If God forced people to do things His way, then we could know without any doubt that what people do for us would be done with honesty and fairness. Unfortunately, that won’t happen in this lifetime, but that’s not a reason to give up freedom and push to control all things in this life either.

I can’t guarantee that every tongue will say things I want to hear, but I would never advocate for cutting out the tongues of everyone who says something I find displeasing. I won’t take away pencils because of journalists who use their God-given gifts of writing to tell lies. And there are gun-owners that hurt people, so they should not have guns, but those who want the right to protect themselves from those abusers should not have to pay the same price as the abusers. Let us fight the good fight as God leads us, and trust the rest to the future His promises hold for us.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leftovers Again


Leftovers for Dinner by Flickr User Avi and Elina Flax, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Leftovers for Dinner by Flickr User Avi and Elina Flax, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab with access to original image and user’s photo stream at Flickr.

Well over twenty years ago, I read a story in Reader’s Digest from the Life In These United States section. It was a story of a mother who was talking about how much television was beginning to influence her family. She served leftovers for dinner, and one of her children complained loudly, “Aw Mom, reruns again?” For some reason, it was cute enough that it pops into my mind almost anytime I think about leftovers.

In today’s reading from Exodus 10:1 through Exodus 10:11, Pharaoh should have thought about his leftovers with gratefulness. In this new portion, Parashah 15 titled “Bo” in Hebrew and meaning Go, Yahveh is talking to Moses about going to Pharaoh with another warning. He encourages Moses by reminding him that the great works He is doing in front of Egypt will be stories Moses can pass on to his children and grandchildren, so that future generations will know that He is God.

The warning to Pharaoh is that if he does not allow God’s people to leave for worship, God will send, as plague number eight, so many locusts that they will eat up every growing thing that is left over from the hail damage. He warns it will be worse than anyone in his generation, or in previous generations, has ever seen, and that it will fill all the houses of Pharaoh and his servants. Moses gives his message, and then he turns his back and leaves.

After he’s gone, Pharaoh’s servants begin to beg him to reconsider. They basically ask Pharaoh how long Moses must be a thorn in their side, and Pharaoh relents and calls Moses back in to tell him the people can leave. But, he does add one caveat. He asks who they will take with them, and when Moses tells him it will be men, women, children, livestock, etc., Pharaoh tells him there’s no way they can all go and assumes it’s a trick. He tells them that only the men can go, or no one can go. And then Pharaoh drives the men out of his presence.

Because Pharaoh did not know God, he did not understand that it is not up to mankind to question God’s request or try to make changes to God’s will. He opened the door to allow even more loss into his life, and the hardness of his heart would cost him a greater price than he could ever have imagined. It would do us all well to take this lesson to heart and to use it to teach others that they do not have to lose everything before they turn to God. Resistance will not change God’s mind no matter how much those in sin might think it will. It’s as simple as this: God is God, and we are not.

January 4, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

To Tell the Truth


Pink Fractalius Rose with Text, (C) All Rights Reserved, Crystal A Murray

And now, O Lord God, you are God, and Your Words are truth. Text of 2 Samuel 7:28a from the Amplified Bible. Image of Pink Fractalius Rose from my sister’s rose bush by Crystal A Murray.

My childhood memories include many associations with television. Maybe it was often a background sound, but a few things were more than background. Game shows fill that slot. I don’t remember much about To Tell the Truth, but as a trivia buff, I enjoyed the information I found on it at Wikipedia. Today’s reading is, of course, about telling the truth. The short passage runs from Genesis 44:31 through Genesis 45:7 and takes up with the last half of the sentence from yesterday where Judah is telling Joseph about how close his father is to his brother Benjamin.

Judah is desperate, and he tells Joseph that his father will die if he doesn’t bring Benjamin home. He explains how he guaranteed the father that nothing would happen to his little brother and that he will bear all responsibility if he doesn’t return him safely. He then begins to beg Joseph to keep him as a slave and let Benjamin go home to his father. He tops it off by saying he could not go home without the boy because he could not bear to see his father in such anguish.

Now, Joseph cannot take it anymore. He makes all the Egyptians go away from him, and he weeps so loud that everyone in the house can hear him. He finally tells his brother who he is and asks them if they’re telling the truth that their father is still alive. The brothers are so dumbfounded by Joseph’s announcement that they cannot even speak to answer his question. He asks them to come closer, and he tells them again who he is and that he is the brother whom they sold into slavery. But he also tells them not to be upset at themselves for their betrayal of him because he says it was all in God’s plan to take care of them through the famine so their family line could continue.

That’s where the story ends for today, but I can imagine how much relief filled everyone’s heart because of that one truth. Of course, it was a big truth, but never-the-less, holding back on the truth even for good reasons can be quite the burden. Have you ever given someone a Christmas or birthday gift early because you just couldn’t wait to see their reaction? Anticipation is it’s own wonderful gift, but sometimes it can get just a little too overwhelming. I love all that God did to ensure the survival of the tribes of Israel, but I also imagine that the waiting game got pretty hard to play sometimes. Actually, it’s still hard when God says to wait, but if we are walking in His perfect will, it will always be worth it in the end. And that’s the truth.

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Well, Since God Said So


Yellow Rose in Green Frame by Crystal A Murray (with the help of Fractalius)

FAITH–Forsaking All, I Trust Him
Photo of yellow rose in green frame by Crystal A Murray
(Edits with Irfanview and Fractalius)

Yesterday, we read about God giving Abraham’s servant a sign that he was moving in the right direction, and through it, the servant found Rebekah as a future wife for Isaac. Today, we read in Genesis 24:27 through Genesis 24:52, and the story is almost exactly the same except that it is being retold by the servant to Rebekah’s relatives.

In verses 47 & 48, the servant begins to share his personal reaction to being shown a positive sign about Rebekah. He tells the family how he put the gifts of jewelry on her, and then he describes bowing before Adonai and worshiping Him for bringing him to the right place. In verse 49, he gives his audience the chance to make a decision about whether or not they will believe and adhere to the direction that has been shown to the servant and confirmed by the sign, and I love their response.

In verses 51 & 52, the two men respond by saying (my paraphrase), “Well, since this is obviously from God, we can’t say anything good or bad. Since Rebekah is here before you, take her and go, and let her become your master’s son’s wife…since God said so.” And at that point, the servant again bowed on his face to worship Yahveh Almighty.

If only we could all respond as calmly and without argument, right? I know I have thought for sure that God said things, but then I waited for a person to confirm what I knew in my heart. When I didn’t get the human support I felt I needed, I backed down only to find later that I should have listened to that still, small voice in my spirit. If only I would always understand that His ways and thoughts are above my ways and thoughts and, with or without human support or understanding, move forward in obedience just because God said so. There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end leads to destruction. And then… there is God’s way.

October 29, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Will Make You A Name


Today begins portion three from Genesis, Chapter 12, Verses 1-13. I’m out again after having an incredibly blessed meeting with Louisville Christian Writers. And, again I know I won’t make it home on time, so I’m using the phone app. Yay for apps!

Anyway, yesterday I talked about men who used the gifts of God to make a name for themselves. In today’s story, we meet Abram, Sarai, and their families. We find a man who has caught the attention of God like Noah did, and God has decided He has great plans for this guy.

God begins to share His plans with Abram, including those to make of him a great nation. He says He will bless him so much that all the families of the earth will be blessed through him. God even tells him that He will bless others who bless him.

The part that really caught my attention–because of the haughty men of yesterday’s story–is God’s promise to make a name for Abram. What an amazing blessing. For all the work we do trying to make names for ourselves and/or trying to leave a legacy, and here is Yahveh Almighty telling Abram how He wants to make a name FOR him. I see by this that it IS okay to have a name that is known by others–as long as it is God who makes that name for you.

Blessings to you all as you seek His perfect will for your lives.

October 12, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Good Gifts Go Bad


The last half of today’s reading from Genesis 11:1-32 is the genealogy of Shem, the oldest son of Noah. But before we get to that point, we get to hear a story about good gifts being used for the wrong purposes. The key verse here is Genesis 11:4 where it says, “Then they said, ‘Come, let’s build ourselves a city with a tower that has its top reaching up into heaven, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth.’ ” The rest of the story is the familiar tale of “The Tower of Babel” (aka “The Tower of Confusion”) where God confused their languages, so they could no longer work together to create things for their own name.

In this story, God has given men the whole earth and all they need to create a life for themselves. He has given them language to communicate with each other. He has given them bricks and mortar to build shelters for themselves. He was their Ultimate Provider then just as He is our Ultimate Provider now. But they forgot that even when they had to work for something, It was God who created the ability to work and the products to work with or from.

With all those gifts, including the gift of unity that was so strong even God said it could make nothing impossible for those who worked together, where do you hear any words of praise echoed to God, or any thoughts of working with His will or plans? You don’t. Instead, these men took God’s provisions as their own, built with them according to their own will, and then used them to make a name for themselves as if it were all their own from start to finish. They forgot that God is the Author and Finisher. They failed to realize that unless The Lord builds the house, all labor is in vain. (See Psalm 127:1.) They allowed the fear of being scattered to overtake them rather than asking God where He would have them to go. They let all the good gifts of God end up being used for selfish, prideful, fearful, and other bad reasons.

Today, there are many gifted people doing the same with the gifts God has given them. They become haughty and act as if the world cannot live without their gift of entertainment or prophecy. If something they have to offer is that important, it’s even more important that they keep it in line with God’s perfect will. Even our faith must be an act of obedience, so if we’re obeying our Creator, where do we get bragging rights? I pray frequently that God will keep me in check when someone positively comments on something I have done–be it singing and writing or helping and encouraging. I know I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me, and I also know I can do nothing apart from Him. I know that, even when I am doing His will and accomplishing things through Him, it is only by His grace. According to His word, even my desire to serve Him is from Him. Philippians 2:13 in the Easy-To-Read version states it this way: Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it. So, there is nothing to boast in except Him. May we always keep that perspective that none of the wonderful gifts He pours out on us will go bad.

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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