Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Life unexpected. It happens all the time. One day we are living on top of the mountain in the Presence of God and fullness of His Spirit. But then the next day we head down into the valley and feel separated, lost and a bit confused. Maybe things didn’t turn out the way that we expected. This has been the story of our life. One day up and the next day down. I keep wondering what the Lord is doing or if it is the enemy invading our camp. The winds of change sweep through us and sometimes it is difficult (at first) to determine where exactly they come from and in what direction should we go. One thing that I am quite certain of at this point in my life is that change happens. Whether we want it or not, expect it or not, choose to participate or not – change will happen in our life. Change is a blessing when it is a God-given mandate and supernatural design. If it is true that God is working every detail of my life for good then it is absolutely necessary for the scenery in my life to change. More importantly it is absolutely essential that I change.
In the adventures of life in New Hampshire, I was talking to our daughter the other day about the laundry facilities at her new apartment. She had not ventured there yet because it was dark and foreboding so she was waiting to go with her husband. I asked her, “How much is it to do a load of laundry? She laughed, “It’s free.” I further inquired, “Are you sure?” I tried to make her aware that she would be paying to do her laundry but she didn’t believe me. She didn’t grow up paying for laundry service. At first, it was free. She discarded her clothes in the hamper and the laundry fairy washed, folded and put them in her room. As she grew older, she began to do her own washing and drying. The laundry fairy continued to supply the washer, dryer and supplies with free access in the comfort of a nice laundry room. When I called her the next day, she told me that she had visited the laundry room of her new apartment and was appalled to find out that she had to actually pay to do laundry. I tried to warn her but she had made up her mind there was no charge.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Now before you answer nowhere, think about the thought you are thinking forming the words in your mouth. Do you really and truly believe that the Spirit of God is real, alive and living on the inside of you? If you do, it will make a definite difference in how you live this life. Where can I flee from your presence? The answer is nowhere but yet when we are tired of this God-Life so many try to live another way apart from the Word and Will of God. At some point in life, we must settle down to prosper and progress in this thing called faith. Faith is absolutely necessary to be saved. Although salvation is free to us, a price had to be paid for our sins. Jesus did that. Now we live in total dependency on Him, but it should be with a made up mind. Faith is that made up mind. But we must know the validity of what we believe and live in it. Otherwise, like my daughter, we may find out on our own or in the end that the price is too much to pay.
Isaiah 1:18-19 (NIV)
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…”
The Lord would like to settle things in us today so you can get on living the life that He ordained and fully equipped you to have. The problem is our stubborn human nature that decides to settle for far less than we have been promised. To settle means to place in a desired state or order. Now the difference here is will we settle for what we want or go after what God desires for us. To decide, arrange or agree with God is to settle the matter in our heart and determine to live according to His Will and Way because we will not settle for anything less. To come to rest that His Word is true and His Way is the best possible outcome for our life. It is to gather, collect and become fixed on the blessings of God rather than things of this world. To be settled in the Lord creates a calm and peace in our life that can only come from a Sovereign God who does not lie or change His Mind. If God says it, that settles it. Well, does it for you today? I want to live in complete agreement with the Lord and align my life with His Way but I will be the first to admit that when things get uncomfortable I will often try to settle for something less. The Lord invites us all the come – let us settle the matter!
Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
To summarize the story of Jacob to this point in his life, he and his mother conspired for his brother, Esau’s, birthright. When he obtained what he was after, obviously his brother was not too happy so fearing his life ran to another family member’s estate to hide and seek protection. While living in this place, Jacob married two wives, built a family and accumulated wealth now he was headed home. Jacob couldn’t stay where he was due to the growing jealousy of his father-in-law but going back presented its own inherent dangers. He was stuck in the valley so to speak between the proverbial rock and a hard place. His entourage had moved on and made camp for the night so the man was alone. I believe that God places us strategically alone at times so we will seek His Face and listen to His Voice. While there is safety in numbers, God wants you all by yourself. He wants your full attention as He has important things to share with you and encourage you. He wants intimate time with His Beloved that often make us uncomfortable because we do not what to say or do when left alone with the God of the Universe. So into the night Jacob encounters God and begins to wrestle with the Angel of the Lord. Although, I have read this story many, many times. It is with new eyes that I see it today. How many times do we wrestle God for our blessings in the place where we are? We want them when we want them and where we are not always considering that there may be more in the process. The angel of the Lord touched his hip socket and from that day forward Jacob walked with a limp. Is it possible that there are times when we are headed for the Lord’s Blessing but because we are not settled that He is our God and He will do it that we fight for something we already have? Is it possible that we sustain injuries in that process as the Lord tries to perfect what concerns us but we demand it now? God had already given Jacob a new name with a future and hope that was part of a far greater plan than just surviving his return home. He didn’t have to fight for it…just keep moving.
Ezekiel 37:12-14 (NIV)
“Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
God will bring those dead dreams and dry bones back to life by His Spirit. Those things that you thought He had forgotten about have been His Plan all along. If we allow ourselves to dry up and die in the process, we will miss the blessing. We must not settle where we are but in who He is. We must decide that the Love of God is real and doing something intention in us and for us. We cannot depend on the surrounding circumstances and overwhelming situations to keep us in step with God but must settle things in our heart, mind and soul. With a made up mind, intent after what God has for us and sure that He wants to give it to us – we don’t wrestle the process or fight for the cause but rather simply live the life freely given at the Cross. When we stop to count the cost as instructed, we find that Jesus paid it all now I just have to live in His Abundance. When I get frustrated, discouraged or confused, I will often pray to the Lord asking what do I need to do, how can I change, or where must I go to see the Glory of the Lord fill my life. Every single time, I am more and more convinced that He says, “Trust me.”
What does the Lord tell us to do in this process? Well, we could speak life into our dry bones, dead dreams and discouraged hearts. God has given us His Spirit. We have a new life by His Spirit and the freedom to live it. What does He promise? And I will settle you in your own land. So today I must make up my mind to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” When I am on the mountain – He is there. When I must venture into the valley – He is there, too. Wherever I am – the Lord is with me. He fights for me. He is all that I need to fully assume the abundant life that I have been promised. Faith is a decision. It is a made up mind that is settled on the fact that God is God, Jesus died for us, and His Spirit lives in us. God loves me. He will never leave me. He is always for me. Such a decision will impact our attitudes and actions as we seek to know Him more. Are you settled today? Or fighting for what God already promise you and secured in your future? Rather than looking for a new place to settle, get it right in your heart as I am in mine. I must decide to not settle for less than His Best. I must get it settled that He wants only His Best for me. The word settle is truly dependent on what we settle for. Is it just enough? Or will it be more than enough. I will not settle for less than all of God’s Love for me.
Romans 8:37-38 (NIV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.