New Series: Tidbits & Thoughts- Refreshing

We’ve all been there.

We’ve all asked the Lord, “Why are the people who don’t even love you prospering and I’m breaking my back worrying about holiness? Can I get an amen somebody?”

Crickets in the heavenly courts.

Cue my brother Asaph. Asaph was a priest in the temple of the Lord, and was frustrated in a low moment of weariness and spiritual fatigue. He penned the seventy third psalm, dripping with displeasure, stating

All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (verse 13).

Translation: “I’ve been pure for NO REASON, GOD!”

He¬†had convinced himself that all his hard work for the kingdom of God was for nothing, since OBVIOUSLY blessings were flying out of the throne room and missing him. WRONG. By the grace of God he¬†saw his error¬†in verse sixteen, saying “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went into the sanctuary of God.”

Saints, we need not ever get to that place where we need an “until” moment. The Lord is¬†the “strength of [our] heart and [our] portion forever” (verse 26). Rest in Him! It is possible to LIVE in His consistent refreshing. Yet¬†Asaph stated early on that “as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked“. But¬†he started the Psalm saying “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart“. Asaph had a moment of confusion. Why be envious of anyone when God is good to you?

Who’s report do you believe? Do you really believe that the Lord is good to his pure ones? Do you take your eyes off of the goodness of the Lord, an intangible wealth, and become bewitched by fool’s gold?

If you have, it’s okay. Dust yourself off, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and turn your attention back to the Lord. Be intentional about getting back into His presence where your spiritual eyesight can be restored to see the truth of the matter; the wicked do have their end, and the Lord exacts justice as He sees fit.

And guess what? Psalm 145 verse 9 says “The Lord is good to all”. Don’t worry about who’s getting blessed when, where, and how. Look for YOUR blessings. Though He is good to all, He doesn’t have a relationship with all. Your wealth, Saints,¬†is incomparable.

The psalmist’s eyes and understanding was opened in the Lord’s presence to realize that

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory…but for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works” (verse 24, verse 28)¬†

Enter in, and be refreshed. Be rejuvenated. Be restored in the Lord’s presence.

To better promises,

Rishona

 

 

Hide or Seek?

Ask yourself this: Am I honest with God?

“But who can discern their own errors?¬†Forgive my hidden faults.”-Psalm 19:12

Like the genius I am, I asked the Lord earlier this year to show me the hidden faults in my heart so that I could deal with them. Not five minutes later, a girlfriend I hadn’t heard from in months sent me a text, asking forgiveness for going MIA and asking to speak with me later that day. My eyes rolled so far back in my head I shocked myself! Immediately I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit…I wasn’t as forgiving as I prided myself in being. There were wounds there that weren’t quite so healed. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind and tell her to stay gone.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, most of us would admit that when we ask the Lord for help, we don’t always want it.

We like our escape mechanisms.

We like being angry.

We’d rather be in pain than forgive someone and let them back in.

We’d rather ask God to give us what we want that trust what HE wants.

Are you honest with God? Are you willing to have your insides churned up and allow God to bring all the settled garbage to the top?

Scripture says in Matthew 6:14-15¬†For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. ¬†But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” I had to first submit to that command to forgive, and in that process, I began to grow in my appreciation of how quickly the Lord forgives me. Yet there’s ¬†major difference between forgiveness and the restoration of trust. You can forgive someone, but not have to restore them to the level of trust and closeness until they’ve earned it. The Lord forgives us of our sin, and sometimes it takes renewed consistency pushing into His presence and seeking His face before we reach the level we were once living in. I was learning lesson upon lesson upon lesson in the course of three days.

One prayer led to a personal discovery of my own shortcomings through the Holy Spirit, and to this day the list continues. It’s only by the grace of God that we can stand and say “I’m not there yet, but I’m not where I was. I’m better.”

Be courageous enough to take a step further and ask for the hidden things to be revealed so that you can grow.

Stop hiding, start seeking.

To better promises,

R.

 

 

Holier than thou…

We all had that one friend in high school or college that we considered “holier than thou.”

Every time a party or get together was being discussed, their very presence produced an inner unanimous groan. They were never invited. They may have had the habit of reading their bible at lunchtime, or quoting scripture, or wearing their shirts neatly tucked into their jeans with a ridiculously bulky belt. Let’s face it, some Christians are weird that way. Okay maybe that was just me, but you catch my drift.

Holiness by Hebraic definition (qadosh) means sacred, the opposite of common or profane. Often used to refer to God as being sacred and set apart and free from attributes of fallen humanity.

The very topic of holiness is not innately a comfortable object of discourse. Why should something so highly esteemed by God be such a pariah to man? Why is holiness such a far off unreachable standard for us to live by?

There are 613 laws in the Old Testament given to the people of Israel, dictating how they were to live, from dietary laws to holidays to be celebrated and high holy days to observe. Deuteronomy 23:12 states, “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself dig a hole and cover up your excrement 14. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away form you.” Talk about holier than thou.

The CAMP, where the Lord would dwell, had to be holy because the Lord himself would be merely present. As believers in the New Covenant, mediated by Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, we know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of our temples. The same spirit of the Lord present with the Israelites in the wilderness lives inside of our earthen temples, so how much more must we be holy? The Israelites were¬†continually reminded to “consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

“Israel was to be totally consecrated to God. Her holiness was to be expressed in every aspect of her life, to the extent that all life had certain ceremonial quality,” (Zondervan, NIV Study Bible).

We are called to holiness as servants of the living God, and carriers of His presence.The Lord’s standard is high. We find ourselves often content to blame human nature for our failure to meet these standards, yet holiness requires action and sober minds (1 Peter 1:13).

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance (1 peter 1:14).

Apart from the holiness imparted to us by receiving the free gift of Christ and his forgiveness of sins, holiness requires us to make holy decisions. It is not an object of abstract thought. We were made holy by Christ’s sacrifice, being made holy daily through the process of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and will be made holy when we receive our glorified bodies at the second coming of Christ.

We participate in this process by daily life choices.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may GROW UP in your salvation… 1 Peter 2:1-3

Craving PURE spiritual milk, pure meaning without guile or deceit, is key. Many today are drawn away by feel good sermons and inspiration quotes, telling you how wonderful you are and ignoring completely the fact that the Lord requires, no, demands, holiness from His people.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2nd Timothy 4:3

We must, brothers and sisters, crave with the very fiber of our souls the pure, genuine, unadulterated doctrine of the gospel, and adjust our lives accordingly so that our Father in heaven may be glorified and exalted. And as we lift Him up, He promises to draw men unto Himself. Numbers will be added to the body of Christ because He gives the increase, not because we have tons of fun days, movie nights, family BBQs and conferences. Being set apart for the Lord’s use is how we are light in darkness.

…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

To better promises,

R.