Monday, October 13, 2014

blessed, not offended...


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 Baptist 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 Baptist—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 Baptist 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

The word offended comes from the Greek word skandalon...a skandalon was the part of an animal trap that held the bait, its purpose was to lure a victim. Offense is the devil's bait to lure us into a trap of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, which can destroy our lives.

If you can grasp this truth, our Lord Jesus Christ 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. He can be trusted. 

This was encouraging to me. It was when I realized even the great saints of the Bible, like John the Baptist, 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 3:17-18, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meal the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.’ Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.” 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.

Beloved, there must be nothing more precious to us than Him. My prayer is that this encourages you. 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."

Be encouraged by this inspiring music video of Ginny Owens singing, If You Want Me To...

Was this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!

Day 13 of 31 days of encouragement...

2 comments:

  1. you and I have been conversing about this post which is full of treasures, as always. After many hours since I started to read it, I have now completed it~! I will share as you suggested when I am prompted the time is right.
    God Bless you Beth.

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    1. Thank you, Mary, for leaving your encouraging comments. Many blessings to you, also, and all those loved ones in your circles of influence.

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