Somewhere in my fresh spiritual journey God had re-aligned my heart. Times of adversity can inadvertently cause our hearts to fall out of step with our Heavenly Fathers. Weariness causes us to become slack and inattentive to the details of our lives and sometimes the most important things lose their importance.
I began to feel new dependence upon God. Everything was fresh and new. I was leaning upon the Spirit of God. I awoke every day with “Lord, I am so dependant upon You to live well today,” on my lips. Each day I would find myself asking Him, “what I should do? How I should do? When should I do it?” It is my effort plus the Holy Spirit that equals fruitfulness and blessing. Not our effort plus our effort. That equals vain effort, wasted effort. How does one let those little essentials slip away?
The will is powerful with a mind all of its own. It can be controlled by the Holy Spirit if we choose to let Him. I was God’s bondservant. Paul started most of his epistles with, “Paul, a fellow prisoner of the Lord, a bondservant of Christ” How did Paul live with that so uppermost in his mind? I took my heart to the very Throne of God for a “spiritual tune up.” It is here where the Holy Spirit takes control of your life. You lay down your will and let Him superimpose His will upon yours. It is a choice knowing that whatever He chooses for your life will be the best choice. It is an understanding that Your Heavenly Father knows what is best for you and has your best interests at heart.
Jesus walked the earth being totally dependant upon His Father. Jesus said of His Father in John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak. “The disciples understood finally, that Jesus’ Word was the ultimate. “Lord, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your Word, I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5-9
King David learnt to submit his will to the control of the Holy Spirit. He always inquired of the Lord before he did anything.
“Then the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David And David heard of it and went out against them. Then the Philistines went and made a raid on the Valley of Rephadim. And David inquired of God, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ The Lord said, ‘Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand. “So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. Then David said, ‘God has broken through my enemies by my hand like a breakthrough of water.
And again in verse 14 “David inquired again of God, and God said to him, you shall nor go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall
be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”
David made it his habit to continually seek the face of God before any major action. This continual turning of David’s face to the Lord when in need reveals his continual dependence upon the Lord and his desire to please the Lord in all that he did.
I am sure that David, as a commander of the army knew the strategies of war. He was a strong man, knowledgeable and skilled. But He lay down his wisdom for the wisdom of God. He was a great man who gave up his limited knowledge for the greater wisdom of God. He walked the higher road. His will was strong yet it was under the control of the Holy Spirit.
When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and the union brought forth a child, the child died. David had pleaded for the child’s life, but it was not to be. You see the man’s heart when, after he hears the news, picks himself up and goes into the Temple to worship. It is not the reaction one would expect. When tragedy strikes mans natural reaction is to withdraw. Very often people stop going to church and turn their back on God. A lifestyle of thankfulness and worship is the true way out of adversity. How can you be thankful when bad things happen? It comes from the understanding who God is. God is the One who alone can make sweet from bitter. He can turn tragedy into triumph when we keep our eyes on Him. Life is painful, but with this understanding, it can not only be endured, but turned around for good. Ask God to lift your eyes to see things from His perspective. When we understand that our lives are to be lived with purpose and that is to see His kingdom come on earth, we see everything differently. Our present pain is seen in the context of the whole and can be dealt with accordingly.
In the New Testament, the great Apostle Paul understood as David did, the purpose of trials. He says in Philippians 3:8: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Paul understood the purpose of his life only made sense when seen in the light of a life lived for Christ. When you live for Christ and understand His purpose for your life, you find yourself re-aligned and in harmony with God.
Elijah said on Mt Carmel when confronting the prophets of Baal, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things according to Your Word. Hear me, 0 Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
Time and again through the Bible you see men and women acknowledging that they are dependant upon God to see miracles. The end result is not about seeing their need met, but it is all about God. They would say, “don’t let your enemies say, ‘where is Your God?” They knew it was about God and His kingdom. They were servants of God; human vessels that God used to accomplish His will.
King David understood his utter need and dependence upon God and seemed to embrace this thinking throughout his life. Dependence upon God makes ordinary people, extraordinary, because God becomes great through them. They have learnt that it is not by their own hand, but by His grace, that they can do anything.
God taught this lesson to King Nebuchadnezzar. After he was humbled God restored him to his former position in the kingdom. “To king Nebuchadnessar — 0 king, this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: they shall drive you from men, your dwelling, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. Till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of Men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’ God is a big God. He is everything. Nothing happens to me that He is not aware of and ultimately in control of. In Hebrew culture, names display a person’s nature. God’s nature is seen in His Names. God is the Source of all things. “In the beginning – God.” He is the Originator, the Source. He is El-Elyon, the Most High God who is the first Cause of everything. There must be a place in our heart where the blessing of God is able to reside. Knowing the Names of God helps us to understand who God is and that He is able. He is the one who is in control of everything. He has your life in His hand. Some of the Names of God are listed on my prayer card “Names of God”
David understood this. Listen to what He says in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20
“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours 0 Lord is the greatness, the power and the glory, The victory and the Majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours,
Yours is the kingdom, 0 Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honour come from you.
And You reign over all.
In your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank you and praise Your glorious Name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You
As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope.
0 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your
Holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the
heart and have pleasure in uprightness.”
David knew that all he had came from God and that it belonged to God. Don’t hold too tightly onto anything in this life. God gives it to us, and He can take it away. It is all His. You must find this foundational positioning in your heart for yourself. It is not positive thinking although it involves thinking positively. The mind is the conduit and the blessing cannot flow through a faulty conduit. If you feel unworthy to be blessed, your incorrect thoughts will stop blessing coming to you. When you realize who is the Source of all, the mind is freed up which allows the blessing to spring up from within us.
Make the Lord Great
“Surely they shall come over to you and say, ‘Surely your God is in you and surely your God is God” Isaiah 45:15
We are all so dependent upon the hand of God on our lives for everything good. I want to feel that dependence upon God every day that I live. I don’t want to take anything for granted. Without His favour our effort is all in vain. We can’t do it. It is your effort plus His Spirit which will bring blessing to everything you do. It is about Jesus. When I started to pray the Old Testament prayers, I started to see phrases that would in essence say, “Lord, don’t let your enemies say, ‘their God has no power.’ Let them see your strong arm so they will know there is a God is Israel!” The heart of their prayers was all about God. Their own needs were secondary. Maybe today we have got it back to front. We spend more time being needs focused when we should really be praying and thinking about His Kingdom. When His Kingdom becomes great our needs are automatically taken care of. When God answered their prayer, their enemies acknowledged the God of Israel. Israel’s enemies acknowledged that Jehovah God was Great and Supreme. When God answers our prayers do we acknowledge and boast about Jesus? You cannot boast of your success, because it is all designed to bring attention to Christ. It is to make God look great. It’s not that God is an egomaniac! It’s about bringing people to Him. It’s about the Kingdom of God.
“Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
“Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, But to Your Name give glory, Because of Your Mercy, Because of Your Truth, Why should the Gentiles say, So where is their God?” Psalm 115:1;2
Why indeed! Today my prayer is that people all over the world would see that our God, He is the Lord.
God has brought me through thirty extraordinary years. Jesus is my ultimate prize. David said in Psalms, “to behold You in the beauty of Your tabernacle, Paul said it in Philippians 3:14 when he said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” To behold the Lord is everything. It is my all in all. My relationship with Jesus defines me. My life is not defined by a job or ministry. You life is not defined by your job, your ministry or your family. Your relationship with Jesus is what defines you.
The bigger picture
My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price. I am a bondservant of the Lord. It’s not what I can do for the Lord, but what He can dc through me. Ministry is about accomplishing God’s purpose. It’s allowing God to use you to fulfil what He has in mind. God has a plan.
God said to me recently, “If I gave you nothing more, would this be enough?”
I can honestly say I am content. My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price. I am a bondservant of the Lord. “Holy Spirit, make me fruitful today and for the rest of my life! Amen.”
If you would like more of Peter and Lindsay Earle’s teaching go to www.pastoralministrytraining.com