We’re told in Psalm 128:2 that when we eat the fruit of the labor of our own hands, we will be happy. The problem happens when people go beyond happy and become arrogant. While God has created the world according to “the law of the harvest,” we must remember that He is still “The Lord of the Harvest.” He allows us to have the fruit of our labors as a blessing, not just because we deserve it.
In today’s Infinite Supply newsletter by Chip Brogden of “The School of Christ,” we get a reminder that God still rules in the kingdoms of men.
The Most High Rules
“The Most High rules in the kingdoms of men.”
Christ is increasing and filling all things. Have you seen this? If you have, then embrace it, submit to it, cooperate with it, be in harmony with it, order your life around it, demonstrate it to the world around you, and pray for its fulfillment.
Get aligned with something and Someone higher and greater than yourself. For when you see God’s Purpose, and you adjust your life according to that Purpose, and you consistently pray for the fulfillment of that Purpose, then His Purpose cannot be stopped; His Will cannot be frustrated; His Kingdom cannot be defeated. Heaven singles you out and Hell trembles with fear. You just became undefeatable! You just joined the Remnant.
Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden
©1997-2013 TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. Permission is granted for non-commercial (free) distribution provided this notice appears. Share this message with your friends!
The full context of the Scripture referenced by the author is where Daniel interprets two visions of King Nebuchadnezzar where God issues a warning to him about his future. We can see from the king’s personal statement near the beginning of the chapter (Daniel, Chapter 4) that he still doesn’t understand who God really is. He tells the reader, in verse 8, the following…
“His name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God.”
So, he knows that the Creator God is holy, but he doesn’t yet know Him as his own. Daniel warns him that he can repent and stop sinning, and maybe then God will remove the future curse from him, but Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t get it. To the contrary, by verse 30, he says…
“Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
“I have built”? “My mighty power”? “For my majesty”? Those things make it pretty clear why the curses from the visions had to come to pass. The king ended up having the mind of a wild animal and crawling around in a wet field until his hair and nails over-grew. By the time it was over, the king knew who God was. In verse 34, he declared something quite different from verse 30…
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever.
What he first claimed as the result of his own power, he realized was only the result of God’s power–even over a king and kingdom. As God told him in the vision, “The Most High rules in the kingdoms of men.” Even when we work for it and earn it, or even when we receive it as an inheritance or a gift, our position on this earth is never above God and never without God. When we understand that, we will be humble beneath the Heavens instead of feeling the need to exalt ourselves, and our humility will bring us more power. As Chip says, if we align ourselves with God and His purpose, we become part of the remnant of the undefeatable.
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…
Why God Resists Us
“God resists the proud.”
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
©1997-2013 TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. Permission is granted for non-commercial (free) distribution provided this notice appears. Share this message with your friends!
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.
I have been a subscriber to the Infinite Supply newsletter since 2009, and it has been a source of strength to me more than once. For November, I will share Chip’s posts and add my commentary. He gives reprint permissions as long as I include the copyright (below). I am doing this in case I decide to go forward with writing for National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) which demands nearly 1700 words per day. It will be more for me since I’m already starting a day late, but I’m not yet certain about my plans. If nothing else, I may at least try to do some work on my original novel every day this month, so that will still need extra time I don’t normally schedule as a daily activity.
From my Infinite Supply Newsletter by Chip Brogden of The School of Christ–November 1st…
Today, Chip’s subject is from Matthew 6:13…
The Glory is His
“Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen.”
There is a Remnant of called-out ones who have seen the Glory of the Son and WILL seek the interests of God’s Only Begotten One. In a time when men solicit the glory and honor and power from one another, there is a Holy Nation of priests and kings who will give the Son the glory He deserves, declaring, “YOURS IS THE GLORY, we will render to You, and to You alone, the glory due Your Name.”
Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~©1997-2013 TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. Permission is granted for non-commercial (free) distribution provided this notice appears. Share this message with your friends!
This is a shorter one, but I love how the author always brings out some deeper nugget of truth from even just a short Bible verse. Of course, if you view the longer books and articles, there is even more depth, so I highly recommend a visit to his site, a subscription to his Infinite Supply newsletter, and whatever free downloads and PDF studies he offers.
As for today’s message, making sure God gets the proper glory can sometimes be difficult. Notice that I said proper glory. Some people brag on themselves and append all the bragging with some sort of “Glory to God” statement that makes it appear they are giving God the glory. Some others never make the work of their hands known for fear they will take away from God’s glory. Where we want to be is in balance between the two, and while wrestling with this human flesh, that’s not always easy.
How do we market ourselves and promote the products of the creative gifts God has given us without saying something positive about ourselves? We can’t. But, if we don’t speak up, or employ others to speak up for us, won’t we be hiding our talents under a bushel? And how do we justify self-promotion with the Scripture from Proverbs 27:2 that says to “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips.”? I believe all those questions are answered by what is going on in our hearts.
Does your heart seek to uplift God and give Him the glory because you know He alone deserves it? Are you so enamored with God’s provisions and blessings on your life that you can’t imagine your life without Him? That you know you wouldn’t even breathe in and out without Him? Do you feel awkward if you promote yourself because you know you walk in obedience to God and only function in His gifts because He is leading you? If you answer yes to these things, then you should be fine. Remember, He judges on our hearts. Other men may believe us or not, and even our own hearts may deceive us, but He knows the truth from the depths of our souls.
And so much for shorter writing by starting with reblogging someone else’s work. 🙂 Well, maybe I wrote a little less. Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think if you visit The School of Christ or subscribe to Chip’s newsletter. Also, I’d love your thoughts on whether I should start a new NaNo novel or work on my Cloudy Days on Sunshine Street novel every day for the month of November. God bless you all as you seek to glorify Him and walk in obedience to His Holy Spirit.
As the song in the video says, God is The King of Who I Am. To be that King, God must also be a “King of Hearts.” For me, He is the king of my heart, and He sought my heart even when my fleshly desires drew me away from what I believe He planted deep within each of us in our creation. He longs for us to obey Him, not because He wants servants, but because a servant’s heart is a tender heart, and He can lead and guide us better if we are tender to His guidance. As I have drawn nearer to Him, here are a few things I have learned about God…
- He is not a king of clubs (and bats) who beats us into submission to do things His way;
- He is not a king of spades (and shovels) who says we must work for His gifts;
- and He is not a king of diamonds (and gold) who is only in it for riches and pride.
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 17:14 through Deuteronomy 17:20 (the end of the chapter), Moses speaks God’s words to Israel about a desire Israel will have when she enters into the land God is giving her. God knows that when Israel looks at the people of all the lands surrounding her, they will see kings in those lands, and they will likely desire a king for themselves. When this happens, God’s word is that Israel must appoint the king that He chooses for them. The king must be one of their own kinsmen and not a foreigner, and he can’t be in it for himself.
The king God will choose for Israel must meet strict standards. First, he must not acquire many horses because that requires a trip back to Egypt, and God has told the people never to go back that way again. Next, the future King of Israel must not acquire many wives for himself because it will turn his heart away from God. Finally, the king must not acquire excessive quantities of silver and gold. We’ve all sin what the love of money can do to those in leadership, and we know that the selfishness that creates a love for money is the root of all evil.
While this part of the portion is a short reading, I find it powerful. The next few verses give all the advice the king will ever need to prolong his own reign and that of his children in Israel. God says that the king should have a copy of the Torah from the scrolls used by the high priests and the Levites. The king is to keep it with him, and he is to read from it every day, as long as he lives. His reading will teach him to fear The Lord and keep God’s words and laws in his heart that he may obey them. He should not turn to the right or left from the good deeds God desires, and above all else, the king should never think he is better than his kinsmen.
We know from the rest of biblical history that God always desired humble kings with servant’s hearts. Those kings who thought themselves better than others, both in the Bible and in other recorded histories, have often come to humiliating ruin. I’ve read stories of King Herod that were disgusting in their descriptions of his loss of limbs to diabetes and the insanity he faced from multiple STDs. We know that King Nebuchadnezzar went crazy and crawled around in a field like a wild animal. Kings and kingdoms where the kings exalted themselves as if they were the gods of their people (a fool says in his heart that there is no God), crumbled and died the deaths of fools.
Oh, but how God loves a servant leader. He loved King David because David was a man who sought God’s own heart. When He robed Himself in flesh, Our Emmanuel (God with us) came as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and yet He did not exalt Himself above other men. He was born humble, He was convicted in humility, and He even allowed Himself to die in humiliation. He proved that what He asked Israel to do in appointing a king, He was willing to do and become Himself. He rules over our hearts, and He rules from His heart, so He is a King of Hearts, and He is THE King of my heart. What about you?
Imagine sitting down to write a short story, and just as you are writing the final scene, the words jump off the paper and shout, “No, the story can’t end this way!” Maybe you would argue and tell the words to get back onto the paper because you are the writer, and you know what you’re doing, but after you got the words back where they belonged, you’d call a friend to make sure you weren’t going crazy. You would need someone to convince you that you haven’t gone off the deep end because you know that it’s the creator that should have control and not the creation. Should it seem that much different with God as our Creator?
In today’s reading from Numbers 28:16 through Numbers 29:11, God is still in a conversation with Moses about all the things the people should do as they continue to live as God desires. This section covers the special feasts and holy days through the year. I’m wondering if God is just giving a primer here to make sure the people know that even in a new land, He is still their God. And they also need to know that their service belongs to God and not to a man, even though they are to respect Moses and other men whom God will call to lead them.
Each feast day is set for a specific day of the Jewish year, and each feast has certain rituals and sacrifices that God wants His people to perform. The sacrifices often use the same offerings as the daily sacrifices, but they are done in addition to the two daily offerings and not in place of them. The festivals God wants the people to recognize are all said to be holy convocations, meaning they are to be done as a community, and for God, as a holy community.
So why does doing all this worship need to begin with brokenness? Because, in order to just be obedient and do as God directs us without questioning either His motives or His methods, we must be humble before Him. It’s even more than not leaning to our own understanding. It’s realizing and trusting that God is not only in control, but He is wise with His control, so we let go of the understanding within ourselves that makes us question Him. We become broken in His presence, so we will need Him to put us back together His own way.
We have a number of repeated Scriptures that remind us who is the clay and who is The Potter, and they all reiterate the need for The Potter to be the one in control. Here are a few of them…
How you turn things upside down! —
Is the potter not better than the clay,
Does something made say of its maker,
“He didn’t make me”?
Does the product say of its producer,
“He has no discernment”?
Woe to anyone who argues with his maker,
like potsherds lying on the ground!
Does the clay ask the potter, “What are you doing?”
or, “What’s this you’re making, that has no hands?”
20 Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?” 21 Or has the potter no right to make from a given lump of clay this pot for honorable use and that one for dishonorable?
We are surrounded by a world of people who think they have all the answers within themselves or within whatever rituals they prescribe to themselves to make life bearable. And those of us who put our trust in Yahveh Almighty know that our answers and rituals often end in failure, but when we trust God through to the end of something, we always find success. Those who resist God usually do so because they refuse to be broken; maybe because they’re afraid to be broken. Brokenness is a scary place to think of going until you have experienced it. When you put your whole being into the Hands of One you can trust with all the pieces, you look forward to the blessing you will find when you humble yourself and let Him make you a new vessel as He sees fit to create.
Zen is one of those things that has a real definition and an urban/cultural definition. The real definition is one of eastern religion tied to Buddhism, but the way it is used in current culture is typically devoid of anything “religious.” People say things like, “Find your zen,” and it simply means the equivalent of “just go to your happy place.” It usually means anything along the lines of peace, simplicity, balance, calm, or a general lack of chaos. I kinda like the definition from The Urban Dictionary:
One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts. “Sun is warm, grass is green.”
In today’s reading from Numbers 19:18 through Numbers 20:6, we continue from yesterday on what someone should do if they enter into a tent or field with a corpse in it, or if they touch the bone of a dead person or a grave. Because they have touched with is unclean, they cannot just be free to interact with the rest of the community until they have gone through a cleansing ritual. A clean person must sprinkle the water (mixed with the ashes of the red heifer as seen in yesterday’s post) over the unclean person on the 3rd day and again on the 7th day. The person will be clean after seven days. If they refuse to be sprinkled, they will remain unclean and must keep separated from the people, and God says this is a defilement of His holy tabernacle.
As all these things are being taught and being dealt with, the people are continually moving around and/or stopping in various deserts. This time, they have headed to the Tzin Desert and are stopping in Kadesh. While there, Miriam passes away and they bury her. Also while there, the community becomes upset because they have no water. They are smart enough to know that burial follows death, but they don’t seem to be able to figure out that prayer should be the natural response to need. Instead of finding their “zen” by trusting God, they begin to whine and complain against Moses and Aaron–again.
Even a little whining might be okay, but these people do a few things wrong at the complaint window. First, they take what should be taken to God to men. Then, they accuse Moses and Aaron of bringing them to the desert just to let them die. As if Moses and Aaron made the decision where to take them, and as if their wandering has nothing to do with their own behaviors. Above all, they show God disrespect by complaining about their current situation and wishing they were back in the captivity from which He saved them. Instead of finding balance by being grateful for their freedom, all they can think about is figs and pomegranates.
As the reading ends, Moses and Aaron do what the children of Israel should be doing; they fall on their faces before Yahveh Almighty. It is that act of desperation and humility that brings in the presence of God, and it will be the same for you and me. As the Scripture says in James 4:7 (NLT), “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Note that the “humble yourselves” (submit in King James Version) comes before resisting the devil. If we want “zen” instead of sin, we need to humble ourselves before The Lord, If we want peace and balance, we need to know our place in Him and in His will for us. Humility lets us look upward to God and see His wonder. His wonder brings us into a place of praise, and praise brings us into a place of peace.
Today we begin a new portion: Parashah (portion) 8, the Hebrew “Vayishlach” meaning He Sent. It runs from Genesis 32:4 to Genesis 36:43, but today’s reading is simply from Genesis 32:4 through Genesis 32:13. Jacob is on his way back to the home of his birth in obedience to what God directed. He knows Esau still lives there, and he is sure Esau is still angry, so he sends men ahead of him to let Esau know that he is coming to him with gifts of cattle and flocks as a peace agreement.
The men came back and told Jacob that Esau was coming out to meet him, but they also said he was bringing 400 men with him. This made Jacob fearful and distressed, so Jacob created a two-fold solution. First, Jacob split his people and possessions into two camps. This way, he said, if Esau comes to destroy a camp, one camp of people will still get out alive. That was good preparation, but the second solution was the best.
Jacob prayed a beautiful prayer to God. He first reminded God that it was His idea for Jacob to return, so he showed he was being faithful. He then showed humility and thankfulness by telling God that he knew he was not worthy of the love and faithfulness He had shown him since he first crossed the Jordan with nothing but the staff in his hand. And then he asked God to please deliver him from the wrath of Esau and to keep His promise to make his seed abundant. He even repeated God’s promise to him and to Abraham and Isaac as it had been given to them by God.
I believe that prayer showed a relationship with God that was built on more than just a “gimme” game. I love the faithfulness, thankfulness, humility, and praise that came before the requests. And as we continue into this portion, we will see the wonderful things God did as a result of that prayer.
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