Trusting My Father

When I was praying yesterday morning, I began to remember that there is a sign between My Heavenly Father and I that proves I am one of His people. 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22   Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ephesians 1:13   In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 4:30   And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

I not only have a seal (The Holy Ghost), but The Lord and I have a special sign.  Whenever you have a special sign between two people others may see it but may not know what it means. 

Exodus 13:1-10 says that I have a sign on my hand and between my eyes when I keep The Passover and The Feast of Unleavened Bread.  It is also a sign between God and I when we keep His Sabbaths (which include all His feast days as well as the seventh day Sabbath) . 

Exodus 31:12-18   Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you … It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Ezekiel 20:11-13   … Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them…
Ezekiel 20:19-20   I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.

So just because God is merciful and rains on the just as well as the unjust Matt 5:44-48 does not mean these people have a special place with God above or closer than we who keep the Lord’s Sabbaths.  So just like a father whose career or calling it is to help save troubled youth, that father’s children should not be resentful or jealous of those youth because he is only doing acts of mercy, his calling, or even his job.  Even though there is a passion and calling to help those children that are not biologically related to him, there is always a deeper and unbreakable bond between the father and his own children.  And if the father had to choose between being able to help the unrelated troubled youth and his own child, he will always choose his child whom He loves like no one else.  If need be, that father will leave those troubled youth – though there be many – to spend day and night at the hospital with his sick child.  But he will never abandon his own child in need to help those other children who may also be in need.  At least not a true father who really loves his child.

So don’t be jealous when God blesses others who are not seeking him or obeying Him to the extent that you are.  Don’t feel cheated when he pursues with lovingkindness Jer 31:3 and mercy Rom 2:4 those whom He is trying to draw.  It is all a part of the wonderful character of God.  After all – it is because of The Lord’s mercies that they are not consumed Lam 3:22.  And perhaps it is because of your prayers for them as well.  It is the goodness of God that brings anyone to repentance.

Remember who you are in God and what you mean to Him.  You are special to Him.  You have a special place in God that those who  settle for a form of religion, could never have.  Your name is written on His hand Isa 49:16.  You are that special to Him.

So just appreciate the mercy of God and do not become jealous because of it.  After all, it served you well one day.  And truth be told, it still does.

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Recovering Pharisee-Step 3

Notes from the book,
"12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)", by John Fischer

Step 3:  We realize/admit that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.

     The Pharisees could never accept that what they had worked so hard for, someone else could get for almost nothing, especially someone outside the boundaries of their cherished traditions.  The Pharisees could not stand being put on the same level as everyone else.  That is why they could not believe in Jesus.  To believe in Jesus, they would have to give up their connection between work and pay.  They would have to lose the whole system by which they had established their identity, their sense of worth, and their standing among men that they thought separated them from the scum of the earth. 

     God’s grace makes level ground.  Pharisees always get what they bargain for; recovering Pharisees get more.  Recovering Pharisees have learned to avoid comparing themselves to others and simply receive with a thankful heart what God gives them.  God’s mercy pulls the rug out from under everything a Pharisee has worked for and prided himself in.  Enter the wild and wacky and unpredictable—even unfair—mercy of God.  God’s mercy puts everyone on the same level.  The mercy of God is God’s business, and I have nothing to say about who gets it and who doesn’t except to be overjoyed that I, for reasons unknown to me, am one who does.       Zech 7:8-10; Psalm 37:25-26; Matt 5:7; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Jam 1:23-25; 1 Joh 1:7-10;

     There is only one way to cure this addiction to control that a Pharisee has:

  1. to realize who God is and how beyond our control are His ways,
  2. to see that the end of what we work for apart from Him is all without worth, and
  3. to accept that there is nothing for us to measure except the immeasurable grace of God—no one to compare ourselves to but Christ. 

     Worship is a relinquishing of control.  We are happy to find our place as His subjects, and we bow down and worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.  This is when we are happiest, when God receives praise, not us.  The closer we get to God, the more unworthy we feel and the more amazed we are that He accepts us and receives our praise and would actually want to use us to help achieve His purposes in the world.  Our worth is also found in relinquishing control of our spiritual image or reputation.  It is coming down off our spiritual pedestals and giving up the constant attempt to establish our value in comparison to others. Psa 139:21-22; Mark 7:3-4; Matt 20:1-16; 1 Cor 3:11-13;

     If you have been given mercy, you don’t care who else gets it because you are just so thankful that you got it.  But if you earned it, you care a lot.   Luke 7:47-48; Matt 12:1-8;

Recovering Pharisee-Step 2

Notes from the book,
"12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)" by John Fischer

Step 2:   We realize/admit that we have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.

     There are two reflections for the second step in overcoming pharisaical judgments: 

  1. Put yourself in the place of the person you are tending to judge
  2. Give them the benefit of the doubt. 

     We need to learn to see ourselves through other people’s eyes to see ourselves as we really are.  We need to be open to someone else’s perspective and, in some cases, to ask for it.  It is impossible to get another view of yourself by yourself.  It would be wise to look at the groups we travel in and see how honest they really are.  John 9:39-41; 3:1-21;

     Standing in someone else’s shoes not only changes our view of ourselves, but it also drastically changes our view of others when we see their situation from their point of view. If we truly see from someone else’s perspective, we might at least be able to understand why they do what they do instead of issuing a knee-jerk judgment of what we do not understand.  Empathy is a marvelous antidote for the tendency to judge others, and personal pain is the pathway to empathy.  It’s worth the pain to become more human–to identify with people–to join the human race.   Rom 2:1-3; Phil 2:1-3; Col 3:11-13

     Pharisees are lonely.  “Perfect” people are always lonely because no one wants to be around you; only other Pharisees.  Pharisees always protect each other from vulnerability–from being touched deeply.  They cannot empathize with anyone because they have not embraced their own shortcomings.  To empathize with someone you don’t even like is a sign that you have accepted and faced your own problems and therefore can understand how other people can be trapped by their own difficulties in life, even if they are difficulties outside your experience.    Heb 4:14-16; 2 Cor 1:3-5