More Strange Weapons: A Stone (God’s Will Is Functional)

June 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Strange Weapons | 3 Comments
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In a previous lesson we saw that the weapon of a millstone reminds us that God’s will is like a weapon in spiritual warfare in that stones are foundational.

This time we will see that stones are also functional. Stones do a variety of jobs. In Bible times they not only made up the buildings, they were sometimes the tools for building. Sometimes they were also monuments for remembering. Other times they were weapons for throwing. God’s sovereign will is the ultimate in functionality. It not only creates or allows all circumstances, but it functions and operates in all circumstances.

Under the heading that “Stones are Functional” I want to use the memory device “CPR:”

Career: When you are building a career, will you trust God’s will, and seek out a “vocation” (a calling from God)?

Priorities: When you are considering your priorities, will you trust God’s will and let Him order your priorities and arrange your time? His Word settles the “first things.”

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

Things that are “added” are things that come “later.”

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelation 2:5

The best place to get back into God’s will is the place you got out. Do the “first works.” The freedom we have in the Spirit is not freedom to do what we want. Relaxation is not true freedom. True freedom is freedom from the selfishness of sin, and it is the freedom to obey God. The good works that God has ordained for us to do are prioritized by His sovereign will.

Relationships: When you are building your relationships, will you trust God’s will and let Him pick your friends? God has appointed your spouse to be your special friend over and above other people in your life. Beyond that, He has sovereignly appointed who your neighbors happen to be, who your acquaintances happen to be, and even who your fellow church members happen to be. These people are in your life for a reason – they are not “random.” Trust God in your relationships – you need this weapon on your side in spiritual warfare.

The strange weapon of God’s sovereign will can be found in every locality and in every situation, because, in spiritual warfare, the place where you are subject to being attacked is everywhere: at home, at church, on your job, in your relationships, in Bible study, in prayer, in Christian service.

Stones are wonderful weapons because of their functionality. They can roll down mountains and crush cities, or they can fit in your pocket. There is nowhere you will not be able to see the weapon of God’s will at work in the battle.

Stones are foundational, stones are functional, and stones are used for friction.

The weapon used by the woman in the tower to kill Abimelech was a millstone. A millstone is a large stone placed on top of another stone. These stones are usually round, and they are used to grind against each other and smash into powder or “flour” the kernels of different kinds of grain (e.g., wheat or corn) that are fed between them. A millstone works by grinding and crushing, and it produces friction. Do not think that God’s will is not going to involve you in a great deal of friction.

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:16 (emphasis added)

Notice that this verse says “and” with fire, not “in” fire. It is speaking of the heat of persecution not a “fiery” emotional manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I Peter 4:12

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

Christ the Lord – the Great Refiner – the Great Purifier of the Church – uses heat – friction – to purge impurities out of the hearts and lives of His people. If you have been a Christian for very long, then God’s sovereign will has sent circumstances into your life, sickness into your life, suffering into your life, even people into your life – to grind on you – to scrape away the rough edges and the impurities, so that you may be more conformed to the image of Christ.

The millstone in Judges Chapter 9 – the millstone that killed Abimelech – was the perfect weapon for the time and place of its use. It crushed Abimelech and cost him his life, his reputation, and his would-be kingdom. God’s will is perfect. Will you love it and trust it? Or will you try to resist it and be miserable? It is a weapon which we observe, not a weapon which we yield. The way to take advantage of this weapon is to stay close to God.

The Blessings of an Unhappy Marriage Part 1

February 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 13 Comments
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I have to put a disclaimer on this post. I don’t have an unhappy marriage. I love my wife very much. I love being married to her. From my point of view my marriage is extremely happy. (My wife’s point of view may be a different story!) Even better than being “happy,” my marriage is full of joy – real God-given, Christ-exalting, grace-fueled, Gospel-centered joy! This post is intended to help those who are under the mistaken assumption or belief that the sole purpose of marriage is to give us a shallow, temporary, circumstances-dependent happiness. God’s purpose for marriage is far higher and far greater than that – even when (and maybe especially when) one or both spouses don’t really feel happy.

Here are the first two of four Bible principles to help us understand what God wants to do in our marriages. These are opposed to what the world (and even much of the Church) teaches about how to have a superficially happier marriage.

1. Satisfaction in Marriage

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2, emphasis added

God’s will is perfect. Unless you are a bigamist or a polygamist, you are married to the person to whom God wants you to be married. You may have heard the old joke about the man who wore his wedding ring on the wrong hand. When his friend asked him about it, the man said, “That’s because I’m married to the wrong woman.” It may be a cute joke, but it expresses a horrible idea, and it’s not at all Biblical. I remember (sort of) the words to a song that was popular on the radio when I was a young child. It went something like, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…” Not very romantic, to be sure! And I’m almost certain it was not a very spiritual song. However, it did express something of a solid Biblical principle: Love is something we are commanded to “do” to our spouses, regardless of what sentimental or sinful “feelings” we might have.

God is sovereign. He uses everything that happens to you – if you are truly a Christian – truly His son or daughter – to conform you to the image of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus. That is the ultimate overriding goal – the big purpose of God – His divine will – concerning you.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29, emphasis added

It’s a big job – but nothing is too difficult for God. This is a great encouragement. God is going to conform me to the image of Christ. If my marriage is “unhappy” but God is using it to conform me to the image of His dear Son, then I can find Satisfaction in my marriage.

2. Separation in Marriage

Romans 12:2 says that we are not to be conformed to image of the world. Therefore, we are to reject worldly ideas of marriage. We are to be transformed inwardly – and be conformed inwardly and outwardly to the image of Christ. “Separation in marriage” sounds like an oxymoron. Normally, we think of “separation” as the precursor to divorce. But I’m not talking about separation from your spouse. I’m talking about separation from the affections of others (such as parents, friends, etc.) and separation from “worldly wisdom” about your marriage. When you find satisfaction in your marriage by viewing it as part of God’s divine will, you will be able to handle the principle of separation from the world’s view of what your marriage can be, and you will be able to see God’s view of what it can be.

Next time, we’ll look at Sanctification and Sacrifice in marriage.

Two “Right” Feet

July 2, 2009 at 9:20 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Biblical Walking | 6 Comments
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Asa was the third king of the Kingdom of Judah. The Bible records that he began his reign by walking in God’s will. As he trusted and obeyed the Lord for 35 years, he was blessed with success.

However, one who truly walks in the center of God’s will does not walk on a broad meandering thoroughfare. The centerline of God’s will is razor-thin. One step to the left or right can take you out of God’s perfect will, and 1000 miles in either direction can be just as damaging as that first step.

In that 35th year of his reign Asa took his first big step – a stumble, really – out of God’s will, and trusted the King of Syria instead of the Lord.

And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.

II Chronicles 16:7

Instead of repenting, and getting back on God’s narrow path, Asa continued to order his own steps, ignoring the Holy Spirit’s counsel which had been given to his great-great-grandfather, David. (Psalm 37:23)

Even when God allowed him to contract a disease which reminded Asa that he had stumbled and was using his feet to walk away from the Lord, instead of back to the Lord, the reproof was not taken.

And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.

II Chronicles 16:12

God, help us to follow You on the paths of righteousness, for Your name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3)

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