For This Thing is From Me

Tapestry: Front and Back

 “Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home, for this thing is from me.’ So they listened to the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord.”  

 1 Kings 12:24, KJV

You can never accuse the Lord of being cold and distant and aloof.  He doesn’t detach Himself from the needs of His people.  He doesn’t ever disconnect and isolate Himself from you.  On the contrary, He is constantly thinking and acting on your behalf.  He is a proactive God, and that’s impressive.

The God of the Bible is always intensively involved in the affairs and concerns of His covenant people.

What we see as a muddled-up mess is actually His work. Perhaps in eternity we’ll see and understand. We see the backside of the tapestry now but (I assure you) we’ll know the beauty of His handiwork.

“For this thing is from Me.” 

God directs a confused king who has significant issues.  (Sound familiar?) God decides that the civil war between Judah and Israel is wrong.  In 1 Kings 12, He sends His prophet Shemaiah to stand before the king of Judah, and speak out a word to the nation.  The Lord is involved, and it is He who is actively enmeshed in this issue.

“For this thing is from Me.” 

There is something here that can mystify and perplex the best of us.  He begins to weave and guide His active presence into the confusing issues of that time.  He is not a “landlord God,”  but He is intensely involved in our affairs.  He initiates and directs the very things that concern us.

“For this thing is from Me.” 

The text clearly opens up this ugly situation.  In the midst of this bizarre issue, God has assumed control.  His prophet Shemaiah carries this a Word of power into a room of possibly explosive personalities.  Now the arrogance of the king can be a strong and strange thing.  But God decides and moves wherever He wills. Kings are never an issue when God enters in. They must serve now, like anyone else.

Dear one, He is incredibly involved in your affairs. 

He draws you and He has engaged to be intricately focused on your situation.  “For this thing is from Me.”  and that truth opens up His purposes to our desperate poverty.  We may try very hard to try to maintain control and direction.  But God directs and superintends. 

He is big enough to touch and direct my small heart.  We will come into confusion if we try to sidestep His lordship.

 “The Lord can control a king’s mind as he controls a river;  he can direct it as he pleases.” 

Proverbs 21:1

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One Step Ahead of the Abyss

 

“Life here feels like you were just left off here one day, with no instruction manual, and no idea of what you were supposed to do; how to fit in; how to find a day’s relief from the anxiety, how to keep your beloved alive; how to stay one step ahead of abyss.”

-Anne Lamott

The reality is this– so much happens to us that we’re not in control of. There are some deluded souls who think they have it by the handle; that they have life completely figured out. But not me. Much of my life has been a challenge, and at times wonder if I’m still on the path. I’ve followed Jesus for 40 years now, and I’m always challenged by what’s around the next corner!

Life comes at us so dang fast, and it’s never linear or methodical, there are bumps and curves that must be navigated. The road is often a drudgery. And yet at other times it’s like we’re trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Things come at us so furiously fast, it races at us relentlessly. We can’t keep up anymore.

I believe that the Bible– God’s tried and true promises have impressive, supernatural power. Not in a magical way though; but rather it becomes a guide for me when all other ‘influences’ fail and falter. It alone tells me what is true. What I have internalized within is now my compass and guide. It can be trusted when everything seems wrong. The Holy Spirit uses those divine promises that I have collected over the years.

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.”

(Psalm 119:105)

I live for, and love, the guidance He gives. There is so much adventure to it all. To be in harmony with Him (and His Will) is a wonderful thing. I honestly don’t pretend that I’m walking this road alone, and I’m definitely not lost in some weird maze. Instead I’m seeking out the wisdom of my brothers that have journeyed the road ahead of me. And I especially want to follow my Companion. He deeply loves me, and He fully intends to lead me home! (John 17:12, NIV)

“Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
    leaning on her beloved?”

(Song of Solomon 8:5)

He is with you in these terribly difficult places. He makes the crooked straight.

Being mentally or physically disabled isn’t easy, but who says it should be? (You do adapt, I know.) Whatever wilderness we find ourselves in is punctuated by His presence. He is there, and He can be leaned on. Granted, there are no quick fixes; there is only His strong presence. He’s your beloved that is holding on to you as you travel this hard wilderness.

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God’s Hamburgers

 

 “So the people left the town and went to see Jesus.

 31 Meanwhile, his followers were begging him, “Teacher, eat something.”

 32 But Jesus answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

 33 So the followers asked themselves, “Did somebody already bring him food?”

 34 Jesus said, “My food is to do what the One who sent me wants me to do and to finish his work.  

John 4:30-34, NCV  

  

 Jesus was amazingly attractive to people.  With an almost magnetic pull, they were drawn to Him.  He connected to each one in a powerful and intimate way.  In our time, and in our way,  Jesus continues to have this incredible appeal.  People are quite attracted to Jesus, and continue to be. They deeply respect and esteem Him. They maybe turned off by the Church, or by doctrine, but they are amazed by Jesus.
  
As disciples, there was a general consensus that Jesus had become a little too popular–to the extent that He wasn’t taking care of Himself.  The thought was that He need sustenance–calories, they hadn’t seen Him eating.  They were concerned that Jesus was “spreading” Himself far too thin.  But this concern was not valid.  Jesus tells of His “food” that the Father was giving Him.  Nourishment was something that Jesus didn’t have to worry about.  The Father took responsibility for Jesus’ hunger.  And Jesus trusted His Father implicitly.
 
***

Often our physical needs become our central issues, taking a consistent center-stage.  We start to make eating to an fairly elevated importance. We aren’t just eating, we become gourmets. We will follow Jesus, but only if we can bring our refrigerators.  It may seem subtle, and unimportant, but our stomach can be diverting.  Our appetites subtly encroach on God’s claim on our lives.  The story of Esau in the book of Genesis is a warning for us today–he traded his birthright for a bowl of savory stew.

Whenever Jesus comments deeply, He will clarify much.  He is not worried about His physical needs, that it the Father’s concern.  Instead we see Jesus focusing, with almost pinpoint precision on the Father’s will.  Such focus seems fanatical, way too zealous for us.  It seems that we have exalted culinary excellence, and have been gastronomically led to a place where are palates and stomach’s start to rule.
 
“My food is to do His work.”  Jesus had a focus, that took Him into a way of life we admire, but don’t ever attain.  We certainly will never diminish or minimize Jesus.  But I think we do this when we just gloss over verses like this, and try to ‘side-step’ the obvious meaning with an interpretation that removes the stinger.  We must arrive at this point.  It’s the place were our physical hunger for “good food” is replaced by a strong appetite to do the will and direction of our Heavenly Father.
 
What do you intend to do now?  Will you trust Him to meet your physical needs?  Will the active pursuit of God’s will nourish you completely? You need to figure that out for yourself.  All I can do is to lay this before you so you can make a decision.
 
  
 
 
 
 

 

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