Monthly Archives: October 2015
Pete had become lost in the desert and had been chasing mirages. He thought to himself, “I’ll follow this last one.” It was a deserted town with a well in the very centre. His mouth parched from the intense heat, he ran to the well with his last ounce of energy.
He vigorously pumped the handle only to find that no water came forth. Then, he looked up to a note nailed to the post. It instructed its readers to “look behind the rock where a five-gallon container of water will be found” and warned against drinking or using it for anything besides priming the pump. Every ounce was needed, and not even a drop could be spared, the note emphasized.
“After pouring the water down the pump, pump the handle vigorously and all the water you desire will come forth,” the note said. One last instruction was to please fill the water can and place it behind the rock for the next weary soul who might happen to come along.
How hard it is for people to give up a “sure thing” for something they cannot see at the time. Pete had a sure thing in the bucket of water and yet was instructed to pour it “all” down the pump. Now Pete was not sure what to do. He was not sure when the instructions were written, and whether the instructions would work after all these years. Sure, he could have the five-gallon of water to refresh himself and move on, or he could risk all the water and get nothing out of it.
Pete finally decided to have faith and took the risk: he poured all the water into the pump and started to pump vigorously with hope. Nothing came out, but then slowly water started to dribble. Then the fresh water started to gush out of the pump. Pete drank enough water, saved as much as he could for the remaining journey, washed himself and finally filled the five-gallon container. Before leaving, he wrote below those instructions: “Trust me. To follow the instructions, you need faith. And faith works – always.” – Paraphrased from “2000+ Bible Illustrations”
True faith looks foolish in the eyes of common sense. True faith will cost us something, sometimes everything. But are you ready to take that leap of faith, trusting in the Word of God? For He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 12:6)
God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.
Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.
– From “My Utmost for His Highest”, for October 23rd, by Oswald Chambers.
Have I come to the point where I have surrendered completely and unconditionally to God? Is my trust in Him is not affected when He has withdrawn His blessings from me? I wish I can say “YES” to both these questions with my whole heart…
“In the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.” – Genesis 40:17 (NKJV)
Who am I going to be? The chief baker or the chief butler?
The chief baker had a dream. In that dream, he saw that the baked goods he had made were ate by the birds while he was on his way to present those to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Unfortunately this is what happens to certain points in my Christian life.
1. How good were the baked goods? It depended solely on the chief baker. Of course, he would have prepared really tasty food for he was making them for the Pharaoh, but still, it was his handiwork.
There are times, I try to bring great things to God our LORD. My holiness. My disciplined life. My prayers. My devotion. Yet, I see that the birds of the air, or the devil, devouring those works even before I reach the altar of my LORD. For these deeds, depend on my own self completely.
If someone sees those deeds, they won’t glorify God; because they know that these good deeds are because of my own – who I am. They won’t see the finger of God in those good deeds.
LORD, forgive me for trying to come into Your holy presence with my own good works.
2. The baked goods had leaven in them. All baked goods need leaven. Only then they are soft and tasty. The baked goods that the chief baker brought would have had leaven in them.
We will be able to see so many articles and discussions on what “leaven” means in the Bible. So, I will not go into the details here. But, whatever the interpretation be, leaven is something that the LORD abhors. And when my offerings, whatever be the nature of them, monetary, time or my own self, if those offerings have leaven in them, then the birds of the air eat them on my way to the LORD.
LORD, forgive me yet again for trying to bring leavened goods to Your presence. Thank You for reminding that I cannot come into Your presence by my own righteousness.
3. The baked goods are naturally puffed up. Leaven and baking make things puffed up.
I may think I am really a very humble person. But only the LORD knows what is residing deep in my heart. A little baking will show whether there is leaven in me or not. A little trial, a little heat will show to the world and to me, if I am puffed up. If I am proud. And there are times I thought I was being humility personified and a little insult from someone would reveal what leaven is hiding deep in my heart.
Oh LORD, the Gracious God, forgive me for trying to come into Your presence with pride. I acknowledge that whatever You have allowed the devil to take away from my life are nothing but my pride. And, I thank You for that, for You are just and gracious. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand. – Psalm 31:14-15
Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. – Genesis 40:20 (NKJV)
On that day of his birthday, Pharaoh released both the chief butler (the cupbearer in some translations) and the chief baker. The Bible even adds that he lifted up both their heads.
Yes, our LORD, the King of kings has released us from our prisons. HE has even lifted up our heads. And we are happy with that. But, that is not the end of the story, is it?
The chief butler returned to his former glory and became a vessel that was used by our Lord; it was through him, Joseph was released and the purpose of the LORD was fulfilled.
The chief baker, though his head was raised among the servants of Pharaoh, was hung.
Yes, our LORD has released us from our prisons and He has lifted our heads among His servants. But, at the end, the question is who am I going to be? The chief butler or the chief baker? Will I returned to my former glory? Will the LORD use me as His vessel, to fulfil His vision through me? Or will I lose everything? Who am I going to be?
The choice is mine to make.
For the LORD declares, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” – Deut. 30:19
Recently I had a chance to hear a sermon on Lot, the nephew of the great friend of God, Abraham. The preacher was pointing out the errors and mistakes of Lot and asked how could he be called righteous and declared that, he, for one, would never call such a man as Lot as righteous. Even the assembly were not happy that Lot was called righteous.
It actually sort of saddened me to hear this in a Christian church. Above everything, it the Spirit of the LORD Who has recorded that Lot was righteous.
“…and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked…”
– 2 Peter 2:7 (NIV)
Yes, there were so many things that were wrong with Lot and for our human eyes, it is impossible to think of him as righteous. But, if the LORD calls someone as righteous, who are we to question Him?
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. – Romans 8:33
It led me into some meditation about Lot and why was he called righteous. God willing, I will share it with in coming days. But I want to tell one thing here. It made me happy. It made me understand Romans 4:5-8 more and more. It brought me joy. It brought me more peace. May the peace and joy of our LORD be with us all.
Rom 4:5-8 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”