Tuesday, May 27, 2014

blessed is the person...

I believe the quality of life we experience is not determined by what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. God is there, His Name is Emmanuel—God with us, He knows, He cares.
Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God. (Isaiah 50:10 amplified)

The darkness in Isaiah 50:10 could be called a “God-allowed” time of darkness that can happen in the life of a Christian. There may be a time when you feel that your prayers aren’t getting above the ceiling. When you read the Bible, the verses don’t jump off of the page like they once did when you first became a Christian. Fellowship may not be what it once was.

Kay Arthur, in her book entitled, The Sovereignty of God, states, “... when adversity comes into your life, you can rest in the fact that first it had to be filtered through God’s sovereign hands of love, for God is love.”

John the Baptizer is one of my favorite Biblical personalities, other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He stood on the banks of the Jordan River preaching of the coming Messiah and victorious King. He rebuked Kings and upset the religious community. He called sin by its proper name, and was consumed, not with being popular, but with pleasing God. After a very successful ministry, he was arrested and taken to a dungeon in southern Israel. He suffered in that jail for 10 months and it became a place of discouragement, despair, and disillusionment.

John hit “rock bottom” on the day when those two disciples came and said, “John, did you hear what Jesus did yesterday?” And John responds, “No, I didn’t, and I don’t want to hear any more of it. I want you to go find Jesus and ask Him this question, 'Are you the One, or should we look for another?'”

This is John the Baptizer—the same John who pointed at Jesus on the banks of the Jordan and said, “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” This is the same John who baptized Jesus, touched Him with his own hands, and heard the voice of God when He said, “This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”

John the Baptizer was flesh and blood just like us. In the midst of prolonged despair, things became spiritually cloudy for John in that dungeon. He began to say, “Things aren’t working out like I thought they were going to. I was having a great ministry on the banks of the Jordan and now it’s all over. This doesn’t make sense. I’ve been faithful. I’ve been true. Why is this happening to me?”

Those two disciples found Jesus and said to Him, “Lord, John sent us and told us to ask you this question, "Are You the One, or should we look for another?” Jesus looked at them and, without a condemning response, said, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up …” (Matt. 11:5)

Jesus was saying, “All these works give testimony to Who I am, and I’m right on schedule with my program.” But He didn’t stop there. In the next verse He said, “And blessed is he who is not offended with Me.” (Matt. 11:6)
Blessed is the person who does not get uptight about the way I do My business!—Matthew 11:6 paraphrase

If you can grasp this truth, He will change your life. I know because He changed mine. You see, it expresses complete and total trust in the sovereign God of the Universe. Yes! And Hallelujah! He can be trusted.

This was encouraging to me. It was when I realized even the great saints of the Bible, like John the Baptizer, experienced pain, sorrow, difficulty, and loss, that I understood I was not alone. They were down, but never defeated. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8, 9) Psalm 56:11, “In God have I put my trust." Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” In Psalm 23 we read the words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” Even in the dark, though difficult as it may be to understand and believe, God cares and will not fail.

An often overlooked passage in Habakkuk has become one of my very favorite passages of scripture. Habakkuk 3:17-19 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stallsYet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”

Yet we are to rejoice, not in the disaster, but in God and our salvation. My rejoicing in God is not based on my circumstances, not on income, friends, savings accounts, job, house or health, but on Him and Him alone.

Friend, there must be nothing more precious to us than Him. My prayer is that this encourages you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. May it give you a better understanding of Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good,” and I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” An unconditional relationship with the living Christ gives us the inner strength necessary for success in those difficult times.

When Hitler began bombing the city of London with his air force, the English moved trainloads of children out to the country for safety. One little youngster was asked, “Where are you going?” The child responded, “I don’t know, but the king knows.” I don’t know where I’m going from here, but my King knows. In the midst of it all, King Jesus knows where you are going from here. Even though you have hurt like never before, He is there, and He “knows."

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your promise of unfailing love. Impress on my heart a deeper awareness of your love and care for me. Give me eyes to see all the ways you express that to me throughout this day. Forgive me for seeking satisfaction in material possessions, family, friends, and work. I pray that you will become my greatest source of satisfaction and joy. Enable me to find my rest in you, to discover a place of deeper abandonment and security in your everlasting love. You are my only rock. You are my only rest. I praise you for your amazing sovereignty. You wove me together in my mother’s womb, saw me before I was born, and have already recorded every day of my life. You charted the path ahead of me and laid out every moment before a single day had passed. I don’t have to fear because you are with me, before me, behind me, surrounding me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Habakkuk 3:17-19 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Habakkuk 3:17-19 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out
—as you meditate on Habakkuk 3:17-19 ... pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


  1. This was amazing, Beth! I love that Message paraphrase.

    I guess it never occurred to me that John's message to Jesus grew out of his discouragement at the way things were turning out. That putts it in an entirely new perspective.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Blessings, Daphne

    1. Thank you for commenting, Daphne, you are such a wonderful encourager to all of us in Lakeland Christian Writers :)

  2. Love the little boy's response. Let that be mine, too! "I don't know where I'm going, but my King does!" (your neighbor at Holley Gerth's)

    1. Thank you, Kathryn, I so agree...the faith of a little child :)

  3. Beth- I love that verse about yet tho the fig tree does not blossom etc also. And I appreciate these words deeply: . when adversity comes into your life, you can rest in the fact that first it had to be filtered through God’s sovereign hands of love, for God is love.”
    Such reassurance has often comforted my heart.
    I am absolutely convinced that He will bring good from/ redeem- anything that happens to me- and it is so good to be able to have absolute trust in Him who is always faithful and always true.

    1. Mary, amen! Thank you for sharing your heart...your comments are always so encouraging :)


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