Monday, July 14, 2008

A QUIET SPIRIT THROUGH LOUD CIRCUMSTANCES

Title---'A Quiet Spirit Through Loud Circumstances"

As I went before God so He could give me a message for the day I started to
go into a subject that He just did not want me to get into. I was wondering
why my thoughts were cluttered, the words just did not seem to flow and my
spirit was not being renewed in Him. Sometimes I think when we try and push a
subject it is like shoving a rock off of a mountain. We see the rock but when it
falls we no longer observe it. Remember that verse in 2 Corinthians 3:6
..."not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life." For me at least this is the way it works. Pushing would be the
letter of the law. Allowing God to show me would be the Spirit of God. If we
push something and God is not behind it our efforts will lead to flesh. I am
saying all of that to say this, if we want a quiet spirit through loud
circumstances we have to let God show us whatever He so chooses in His timing. Jesus
said..." A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven."
John 3:27. It was almost as if God was telling me that when He lays a subject on
my heart then He will bless it. Proverbs 15:23 says..." And a word spoken
in due season, how good it is." There are many ways that we can identify a
true friend. If they are trying to speak a good word at the proper time for the
purpose of edifying you then they are a true friend. The Bible says that
Jesus is our friend. "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth
not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends: for all things that
I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." John 15:15. God wants
to speak to us with words spoken in due season, not a word that we are trying
to push or promote. The Holy Spirit makes alive what we are reading, then we
can truly say we just received something from God. If He does not all we
have is the letter of the law. Grace comes alive through the Holy Spirit as we
accept our circumstances (no matter how bad they are) and yield to God's love
covering of our minds and hearts, especially through a timely word that is like
poetry for the soul. By accepting our circumstances I am not saying that we
should not engage in some sort of action or reconciliation if needed. I am
stating that there has to be some kind of settling in our hearts as to where we
are in life. Otherwise we will never have a quiet spirit through loud
circumstances. Our mind, will and emotions long for God's love and peace but we tend
to get in the way because of our problems. There are some circumstances and
things in this world that I will never accept in my flesh but unless I allow
the Spirit of God to work through me, those bad things will probably become
worse.

Many people have heard the motto "You do not want to eat day old Manna." For
those of you not familiar with that phrase this is what it means. God gave
me a word for Monday, now it is Tuesday and we are trying to get the same word
from God that He gave us yesterday. I believe in my case as I approached this
subject it was not day old Manna, it was Manna that was not yet meant to be
digested, if ever. The Holy Spirit knows exactly when to illuminate God's
precious truths to us. He always has a timely word. We just have to be in tune
with our spirits as to what God is saying and where He wants us to go. When
God will reveal this is up to Him. Do not be frustrated by the "when," just be
confident that God will speak to us. This will go a long way in acquiring a
quiet spirit through loud circumstances. Why? Because He is faithful and
will always come through in His perfect timing and show us an aspect of Himself
that will be perfect for us at the moment. Tomorrow is a different day. The
value of Monday's message may not be applicable for Tuesday. God is not going
to keep showing us the same thing over and over again because He is so much
bigger than this. Why doesn't everyone look or act the same? Because God is
too big for that. There are stars in the universe that we are not even aware
of, yet God sees us as individuals with problems and is willing to get down to
our level in the midst of His infinite nature and shows us His compassion.

In my personal Bible study I ask God to speak to me through His Word, quiet
my spirit or give me insight on a particular dilemma. Every time that I try to
crank it up as it were, God just seems to remain silent. This example would
not apply to everyone because people have different personalities that
naturally express themselves in a sanguine form (a happy go with the flow demeanor
that is usually outgoing) to give God the glory. I on the other hand always
get in the way when I approach God this way and as a result by the time I get
finished all that I have is me. I originally came to God so that He could renew
my spirit in Him. When God does this I have a serene spirit in Him through
loud circumstances. I had enough of me and wanted more of Him. Sometimes we
have great intentions but the results are disastrous. In my younger days as a
Christian when it came to speakers, Bible commentaries or books I used to go
everywhere and anywhere. This just simply was not working for me. What I am
about to say will be more difficult for some than others to apply but for me
personally I do not even want to go unless the Holy Spirit is introducing me to
someone or something. Just so that you do not misunderstand please allow me
to give you an example. If I am listening to a preacher and let us just say he
is one hundred percent right in letter and spirit but if that minister is
not where I am in life, there is no sense in me pushing the whole thing. Did
you ever notice in life that we are either drawn or we are not? We are all
coming from different backgrounds and are going to different places.
Understanding this will go a long way so that God can restore our anxious spirit and
replace it with His loving, supernatural peace that will give us Godly contentment.
Please be careful as to where you go or should I say be careful where you
stay because God is trying to build something in our lives that will reflect His
perfect glory. If you feel alienated where you are, that loneliness will
drag you down rather than pick you up. You may have the letter of the Word but
it will be difficult to be guided by the Spirit of God. God desires both the
letter and the comforting guidance of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives.

What about bad circumstances that we just cannot change in our lives? You
may be in a church fellowship that you just do not like but for various reasons
you just cannot leave. Maybe you have a thorn in your life and it is always
lingering over your head or it could even be a stronghold in your life that has
entangled your emotions that is just consumes your very essence. Sometimes
in a manner of speaking we are frozen in our emotions unless God's stream of
living water is flowing through us. It is only at this point that a quiet,
content spirit in the midst of a loud world will enable us to experience true
freedom in Jesus Christ. Frequently because of these ordeals we often feel
alienated, alone, depressed or even hopeless. I wish that I had known most of these
lessons earlier in my life but you know as well as I do that you cannot put
old heads on young shoulders. Just as we have to go through winter to get to
spring, I think it is inevitable that we go from immaturity to maturity. God
has His ways of working this into our lives. This is all a part of God's plan
so that we can see His grace through Jesus Christ, our Lord. We go through
the suffering and the hardship and then we start to trust God.

When we build something we need the proper tools, right? Well, it is the
same thing when we are going through trials. We need to know how to navigate
through it. When we walk right, God can proclaim His excellence in our lives
because we have faith in Him. I also believe that there has to be a decision or
determination inside of us to make peace with the world; however, you have to
understand what I mean by this. Of course as Christians, we are in the world
but we are not of the world. For example if we see something in front of us
and it is not of God we should not even get into it. This is easier said than
done because I have found as people we are highly influenced by what we see or
hear. It just does not seem fair that God would give us a brand new life in
Jesus Christ and at the same time we have all of these temptations around us
to lure us away from God. Well, you know God never said life was fair. He
just gave us His Word so we would be equipped to deal and respond to all of these
Madison Avenue baits that are thrown our way. Please remember this. If it
is not of God it is going to hurt us. You may not feel the influence of bad
spiritual choices right away but the "Bill is coming in the Mail." When I was
growing up I did not know there were bills to pay nor did I even care. I saw
it, I wanted it and I bought it. End of story. I did not want to hear
anything else. I still sometimes fall into that exact same rut. Jesus says "Abide
in Me and I in you."....John 15:4, or there is the verse that says " The Lord
is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23:1. What I mean by making our
peace with the world is that I think we have to see the forest for the trees. We
need to see the bigger picture. We have been rejected, harmed, abused and
placed in fearful situations. People tend to say things like "You know it did
not happen to him, it happened to me," or "I am the one going through this." We
tend to internalize this because that is just the way that we are. We take
it personal. As I look back on my life that was my first hand experience to
bad circumstances that affected me. I am still struggling with this but let me
ask you a question. Do you really think that it is the job of life to be
fair? I think we are a little naive if we try to compromise or cut a deal with
life by inwardly or even outwardly expecting fairness. It might happen and it
is certainly my prayer that people by and large can get some breaks if you
know what I mean but it is not the job of life to be fair. I think one of the
problems that we face is sometimes people tend to look towards the world for
love even though it is cold by nature. Sure there are decent persons on this
planet but I think by and large there is not really this connection in life that
people are a neighbor to the other person. If anything, there is a
disconnection and the world sees this as normal. If you look to the world or life in
general for fairness, more than likely you have been hurt in one way or another.
God through His Son, Jesus Christ is the very manifestation of perfect love.
Only He can give us what we truly need or desire. You would think that most
Christians would catch on to this but there is something inside of us that
demands fairness. We are usually secretly defiant when we see something that is
not right but sometimes this manifests itself in the outward realm of life.
Some persons are so low on the Totem Pole that all they can do is accept it or
become fearful, perhaps even bitter.

I suppose we can either look at God in light of our circumstances. That is a
bad idea because we will project all of our problems on God. Or we can look
at our circumstances in light of God, which is a better idea because even
though deep down we understand that life is indiscriminate we are acknowledging
God's Sovereignty in our lives. Most people approach God the first way but it
is when we look at God the second way (looking at our circumstances in light of
God) that we will be able to live above our circumstances. The first
approach will have a cause and effect relationship. The effect is that we will live
under our circumstances. This will crush us because it is too heavy. God
never intended for us to carry this burden. He wants to carry it. The second
approach I believe will give us a sense of Godly peace because what we are
really saying is "God as I look at you, please give me your strength in the midst
of this and that." Looking at our circumstances in light of God is a faith
challenge that will stretch us. It will have positive results. Some people may
have to reverse their minds one hundred and eighty degrees to do this. I am
not saying that our problems will be solved overnight even with this approach.
I am stating that God's perfection will start to work within us in the midst
of an unfair and imperfect world.

I guess what I am trying to convey is that we have to pray to God that He
will bring us to a point where we will accept that life is not fair. I think I
struggle with this point but I realize that as children of God we can only
arrive at this issue through the gentle guidence of the Holy Spirit. If we try to
go there ourselves we will fight rather than rest in God's power.

Were you ever in a crowd and you just saw somebody from a distance and they
were at peace with themselves? It is rare but if you have an eye for this, you
can spot them a mile away. It is almost as if the war from within has been
settled and they are just living their life resigned to the unfairness that
they have been through. You might see it in a person or two but you will have to
look very hard. As I observe people in crowds, I see for the most part a
cordial way to a point but I also spot a lot of resistance. It is the minority
not the majority that have true peace in Jesus Christ. " Mark the perfect man,
and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." Psalm 37:37.

Once I was talking to a person. He was not a Believer. A Believer is
someone that acknowledges that they have sinned before God, realize they could not
save themselves and accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts as their very own
personal Savior. When anyone does this, God will give them a brand new life in
Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful decision for anyone to make because
eternal life is only found through Jesus Christ. John 3:16. Can you imagine the
joy of spending eternity with Jesus Christ? Anyway, some of my bad
circumstances came up in the conversation and he said "it is what it is." I thought to
myself that was kind of a dry way to respond but in thinking back to what he had
said, he was correct. It is what it is and you know first hand that many of
our circumstances are in embryo. We just cannot do anything to change them.
You have heard the old saying "it is in God's hands now." Well, actually it
never left God's omnipotent Sovereignty. We just felt the weight of what we
were going through. Some people might be saying that our circumstances should
not weigh us down but it is going to happen because we are human. " Wherein ye
greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be ye are in heaviness
through manifold temptations." First Peter 1:6. What we are going through might
weigh a lot but it does not have to crush us because God will carry our
problems as we allow Jesus to give us His yoke which takes the pressure off of us
and puts it on Him. If we never had heaviness would we ever lean on God? By the
way, there is a way to do this. In Phillippians 4: 6,7 it says " Be careful
for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God, " Asking for Godly counsel or making
sound decisions are one thing. Being careful for something (anxious) is
entirely different. Persons tend to overlap the two into one. God does not want
us being barraged with a careful anxious mentality for something or everything
because He knows we will have to carry this. God did not intend for us to be
burdened down with the destructive circumstances of this world. Or maybe I
should say that when it does happen there is a way to properly deal with it.
Being anxious for something is hanging onto a relationship that does not have
anything to do with God. It will harm us. This is not a burden that God
intended for us to carry. This passage is actually saying that if we are careful
for something we really should not even go into prayer because that would be us
holding on to our circumstances. By letting go we pray for everything (as
opposed to worrying) with supplication (acknowledging God as supreme in our
lives) with thanksgiving (realizing that God is Sovereign) with requests (asking
God for something that mean a lot to us). God promises us peace which we will
not even understand and it will guard our hearts and minds against the fear and
anxiety that intrudes upon our soul.

Do you have loud circumstances in your life? Maybe you feel they are
overwhelming or you just simply do not have any control and feel helpless. Please
think about this. We serve a good God who wants to give us His peace and give
us closure through His love but not necessarily closure through our
circumstances. This does not always happen. As I look at my life, I approached many
things wrong and as a result anxiety was the outcome rather than God's peace. I
would like you to consider trying something. When loud, hard, unfair
circumstances surround you, determine to have a quiet spirit about the whole thing.
Believe me, I know this is easier said than done. But if you can resign
yourself to the fact that you may not be able to change what happened, no matter how
bad it is through a serene accepting spirit, God will be in a position to
surround and guard your heart and mind with His peace. Being anxious and jumping
all over the place is just going to make whatever you are going through even
worse.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because
he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3. I think it is interesting that the prophet
addresses God's peace as perfect. According to this verse if a person truly
has their mind on God, they are trusting in Him. When God's perfect peace
replaces our loud circumstances, the balm of healing takes place in our lives and
we are able to rest in Him.

May God's peace guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Bob D. From Pennsylvania

No comments: