Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? – Job 2:10 (JPS)
As I wrote yesterday in my blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the blessing that the Lord gave me. But something else happened, that disquieted me. After the phone call, we were about to start our morning prayers, and clearly I and my wife were very nervous. How would the day be? Would I be able to travel for a whole day? How about eating out? We were very nervous and even thought of asking our cousin to postpone the trip. Then as we started to pray, something happened.
Suddenly the Spirit of the LORD moved us to realize our errors. Say, if the LORD has given a severe affliction yesterday, like I had to endure last year, what would have we done? We would have accepted it as a lesson that the Lord is teaching us, that He would give enough grace and strength to go through the trial, we would have praised Him for considering us worthy to stand such a trial and we would have thanked Him for the lesson He taught us using the trial. Yes, we would have accepted the evil from the hand of God, because we know His loving hand is behind the rod that chastens us.
But the moment a blessing comes our way, something good comes our way, we are wary of so many things that could go wrong. Our attitude is so tuned out, that till we started praying and the Holy Spirit made us realize, we did not understand that this good, this blessing is also from the same loving hand of our Father. That He may choose this very blessing to teach a valuable lesson to us. That He would give enough grace and strength to go through the day. That if I praised Him for the affliction, then I must praise Him more than ever for this blessing; thank Him that He considered this poor man’s prayer and is showing me a favor that I do not deserve; that even in this blessing, the good Teacher has a way to teach His lessons.
Yes, the Lord rules over everything – both good and bad; whatever reaches you, who is under His mighty arm, reaches you only because God our Father allows it; whatever we receive, an affliction or a blessing, it is only because our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ has given us enough grace to sustain, to endure without falling.
So, for the last one year, the Lord taught me that He is the Ruler over everything and whatever He allows in my life is aimed at my sanctification and edification; but my mind has taken it only for the afflictions and trials. Yesterday the LORD corrected my learning. God our Lord is the Ruler of EVERYTHING. And, if we humble ourselves, we can always learn from our blessings as well as from our afflictions. True devotion is not only accepting evil from God, like Job did; but also accepting the two-fold blessing in an equanimous manner, just like Job did. Amen.
Our Father in Heaven, in His infinite goodness, gave two choices for people to choose under the Law. You have a choice between life or death, blessings or curse. You can choose. The LORD gave the choices to His people to pick.
But our good Father also knew that we were the children of Adam and Eve, who chose death instead of life, curses instead of blessings, just because of one forbidden fruit. Like the prodigal son, when given a choice, we would happily press the “self-destruct” button, without realizing the eternal consequences that we have to face. So, in His eternal mercies, He sent His only Son and our elder Brother Jesus Christ.
Jesus is not the elder brother from the parable of the prodigal son. HE is the Brother born to help us in adversity (Proverbs 17:17). So, He became the fulfilment of the Law; He chose death and curse for Himself, so we, who are under His grace, have only two things left to choose: life and blessing. Let us choose life and blessings, because if you are under grace, you have no other choices left. Amen.
“For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52).
The summer showers are falling. The poet stands by the window watching them. They are beating and buffeting the earth with their fierce downpour. But the poet sees in his imaginings more than the showers which are falling before his eyes. He sees myriads of lovely flowers which shall be soon breaking forth from the watered earth, filling it with matchless beauty and fragrance. And so he sings:
“It isn’t raining rain for me, it’s raining daffodils;
In every dimpling drop I see wild flowers upon the hills.
A cloud of gray engulfs the day, and overwhelms the town;
It isn’t raining rain for me: it’s raining roses down.”
Perchance some one of God’s chastened children is even now saying, “O God, it is raining hard for me tonight.”
“Testings are raining upon me which seem beyond my power to endure. Disappointments are raining fast, to the utter defeat of all my chosen plans. Bereavements are raining into my life which are making my shrinking heart quiver in its intensity of suffering. The rain of affliction is surely beating down upon my soul these days.”
Withal, friend, you are mistaken. It isn’t raining rain for you. It’s raining blessing. For, if you will but believe your Father’s Word, under that beating rain are springing up spiritual flowers of such fragrance and beauty as never before grew in that stormless, unchastened life of yours.
You indeed see the rain. But do you see also the flowers? You are pained by the testings. But God sees the sweet flower of faith which is upspringing in your life under those very trials.
You shrink from the suffering. But God sees the tender compassion for other sufferers which is finding birth in your soul.
Your heart winces under the sore bereavement. But God sees the deepening and enriching which that sorrow has brought to you.
It isn’t raining afflictions for you. It is raining tenderness, love, compassion, patience, and a thousand other flowers and fruits of the blessed Spirit, which are bringing into your life such a spiritual enrichment as all the fullness of worldly prosperity and ease was never able to beget in your innermost soul. — J. M. McC.
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…
We hear a lot about having a positive attitude. How a positive attitude will help us in achieving our goals. Mind is everything. We become what we think. So think success. Think money. Think power. To be honest, I had tried all these. I tried those self-help books designed to make a millionaire, books meant to make me successful in everything I do, books that kept hammering that “I am born to win” and books that should have made me the most powerful leader in the world.
Positive attitude is good. But to have a positive attitude, we should have the right foundation. If the foundation is wrong, then our attitude will achieve things with unpleasant consequences.
For us, Christians, the positive attitude should be based on two things: 1. On the grace of our LORD that He explicated on the Cross when the LORD gave His only Son Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins. 2. That our attitude should bring glory to God and we should honor Him in all the blessings we receive through our attitude.
There are three people who had a positive attitude in the Bible. One of them had suffered complications while the other two rejoiced by the outcomes of their attitude. We will look at the first person who suffered because of her positive attitude now.
1. Rachel. Her husband had 10 sons through his other wives, but Rachel did not have any sons. Finally the LORD listened to her prayers and she got a son for her husband when Jacob was 91 years old. And, Rachel rejoiced, but her joy was not about the LORD. There were only two things her mind was on.
“God has taken away my disgrace.” – Genesis 30:23 (NIV). While it is not wrong to declare what the LORD has done to us, we should remember something that John the Baptist proclaimed: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 (AMP) That should be the goal of all our proclamation. But Rachel was looking towards her than the LORD. We can see how Hannah praised (she also had the same problem that Rachel had) in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and see how she magnified the LORD. Compared to Hannah, Rachel should have praised the LORD more because her disgrace was greater. But, she just says one line and moves on to the second thing.
“May the LORD add to me another son.” – Genesis 30:24 (NIV) This is what generally taught about positive attitude. If you want something, keep saying it repeatedly. Paint a mental image, keep it in your mind. Say it again and again. All these. And, probably Rachel was the first one to do and achieve that. The name she gives her son was ‘Joseph’ which literally means “May the LORD add another son”. Whenever she called the name of her son, she was trying this positive attitude teaching. Whenever someone called out the name of Joseph, they were saying that may the LORD add another son to Rachel. And it did work. She became pregnant again.
Rachel did not put the LORD first. She did not glorify Him as she should have. When the LORD finally removed her disgrace, she was more interested in adding another son. How many times we have done this?
We will be praying for something for a long time. Finally when the LORD answers, what do we do? Just one small “Thank You LORD” and then we start with the next prayer. We totally forgot how bad our situation was before. We don’t want to look back and thank the LORD for His wonderful grace. Because we want more. We need more. So, instead of stopping for a second and praising the LORD, we move on with our next prayer request, keep asking for it till we get the next one. But remember something.
Rachel did get her next son. But the Bible tells us very clearly about what happened. Rachel gave birth with great difficulty. She was in so much pain and the child birth had exhausted all her energy and she was dying as the son she wanted so much, the son she got because of her positive attitude was being born. And as she was dying, she names him “Ben-Oni”, which means “The son of my sorrows”.
Something that should have been a moment of tremendous joy had become a moment of sorrow. She was waiting for this moment, but when the moment came, her life ended in severe pain and misery.
Of course, I am not saying that the LORD is going to punish us with death and sorrow if we do not give Him the glory He deserves. If that is the case, I would have been dead loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong ago. The LORD we worship is the true living God, He loves us and He is full of grace and slow to anger.
What I am saying is when we have a positive attitude that is not based on the grace of God and that is not attuned to bring glory to God, then when we achieve our goals, there will be an extra baggage attached to our success – sorrow and pain. I had experienced it so many times. Because these blessings did not come from the LORD. It came from our own hard work and self-belief.
Put your trust in the LORD. Have a positive attitude because the LORD is our Eternal Rock. And, when He blesses you, you will be successful, wealthy, rich and prosperous and the LORD adds no sorrow or trouble unto it. Amen.
|Ecclesiastes 11:5“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”
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Imagine that you are going for an important job. Something that is very important to you and the chances of you succeeding in that job are pretty slim. Suppose someone comes to you as you are leaving and says, “Best of luck, I am sure you will get it done”, how would you feel?
You would feel happy for few minutes, but as the time approaches, you will become more and more nervous and surely that good luck wish will not be in your mind. You will be thinking more about the practicality of the situation and that good luck wish would not be in the back of your mind, calming your nerves. And, when you succeed, of course, you are not going to think immediately about the person who wished you best of luck and say thank you a million times in your heart to that person.
Only when that person meets you and says, “Hey, but I was the one who said that you would be successful”, you will say, “Yes, that’s right. Thank you.” And that will be the end of it.
Now imagine the same scenario, but the other way. As you are leaving, say someone comes and tells, “I wish you luck, but I don’t think that will be of any use. I am sure it is going to be a failure.”
Will that comment be with you only for few minutes? No, it will be on your mind as you travel, it will be on your mind as you climb up the steps. As you get more nervous, your heart will be thinking about that comment more. And, if you fail, the very first thing that would come to your mind is what that person said just before you left.
As you explain why the job failed, you would invariably tell everyone that one of the reasons it failed was because of what that person said. And when you meet him or her next time, they won’t have to remind you about that – you will remember.
Isn’t that odd? Two people giving you two wishes and your heart thinks more about the bad omen. I don’t know why. But I have seen that is the case almost with everyone I have met. Probably there are few people who are different, but I have not met them so far. When we have two types of news, our hearts always retain the bad news, not the good news.
Bad news hurt us so much. When we have so many bad news coming on our way, somewhere along the way, our hearts have a problem. When the LORD gives us a promise, we cannot believe it. There is always a doubt deep down in our hearts. And the LORD knows it. In His eternal grace, the LORD does not hold us in contempt because we have trouble believing. Instead, the LORD says something to us.
“For thus says the Lord: As I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.” – Jer. 32:42 (AMP)
This is the LORD’s assurance – just like the bad things that has happened in our life, the good things that the LORD has promised also will happen in your life. When you have trouble believing the LORD’s word because of all the failures, the LORD says, that those failures are His signs that you will succeed. When your faith wavers because you have been humiliated so many times, the LORD says that those humiliations are signs that you will be glorified before the LORD.
So, next time when your hear points out that you have failed before, take heart. Just like the LORD allowed those failures in your life, HE is bringing happiness and success into your life. So, get ready, for the LORD is bringing so much happiness into your life just as He allowed so much tears.
|Psalm 139:13-14 “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
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