Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away…..
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
for they had rebelled against the words of God
and despised the counsel of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help…..
He turned rivers into a desert,
flowing springs into thirsty ground,
and fruitful land into a salt waste,
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle….
he who pours contempt on nobles
made them wander in a trackless waste.
But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
and increased their families like flocks.
Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the Lord. (Selections from Ps 107)
What an amazing passage on the contrast between the prideful and the humble, between those who rely on their own efforts, and those who hunger for God and receive His mercies.
Zephaniah 2 follows this same theme:
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you will be sheltered
on the day of the Lord’s anger….
Gaza will be abandoned
and Ashkelon left in ruins.
The land by the sea, where the Kerethitesa dwell,
will be a place for shepherds and sheep pens.
It will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah;
there they will find pasture.
In the evening they will lie down
in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will care for them;
he will restore their fortunes.
And then we have Bobby Lee’s message yesterday. He said we need to be a fighter, a finisher and we need to be faithful. It’s all about finishing. In order to finish, we need to change the conversation we have inside. He referred to a book called “Three Seconds,” and how taking an extra three seconds can change a negative thought into a positive one. He read Phil 4:8 and talked about how this can help our internal dialogue.
He talked about how we need to “engage the train.” We need to train to be godly, beat our bodies and make them our slaves. We need to take the personal responsibility to grow. When we want to quit, we need to be a “one more” person — I’ll just do one more thing before I quit. God is not disappointed when we fall, He is disappointed when we don’t get back up.
He read II Peter 1, about making every effort to add to your faith, goodness, and to goodness knowledge — we need to know out Bible so we can study the Bible with someone. Then we need to add self control. We need to persevere. Winning is the only option. We need to add brotherly kindness. Are we engaged? Do we have our brother’s back so Satan can’t take him out? Finally, we need to add love. Love is what we do, it is who we are.
We are here to make a difference! God does not need more than a small group to get His work done. Pray every day that God will use us. Throw off everything that hinders (Hebrews 12). The race I am running is hard because I don’t want to do it. I am letting something be an obstacle, and I need to throw that obstacle off.
I keep thinking about the verse, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” In Revelation, it talks over and over again, “To him who overcomes…” The real battle is against loving the world. The older I get, the more I want to relax and be comfortable.
The real battle is also against doing things instead of knowing God. I can make myself very busy doing things for God, and not really seek Him. It makes me works oriented, and I have a negative internal dialogue because I tell myself I am not doing enough things. This is one area that needs to change.
Last night I received a text from someone I have been studying the Bible with on and off. She talked about how she is realizing that everyone has an insatiable ego, an emptiness that cannot be filled. This is what I need to remember, and what the verses in Ps 107 and Zeph 2 refer to. We are drawn to fill our life with the wrong things.
Yesterday after church we got with a couple who drove a long distance to come to church, just because they were hungry for God, for His truth, for fellowship. They are in touch with their hunger for God. They live in an area without any disciples, and they know the truth about what will and will not satisfy. Where is my hunger, and where is it driving me? It must drive me to know God. It must drive me to find my refreshment in God.
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer 2:13) I need to remember what I posted at the beginning from Ps 107 — He turned the desert into flowing waters and parched ground into flowing springs. There is never-ending water for me to drink, still waters of peace, waterfalls of joy.