Are You Desperate to See?

Jesus didn't die so we could have a religion.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Why Don't I Feel Blessed?

Jeremiah 17:5-7 This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

*He will not see prosperity when it comes.* That does not say that those who trust in people will not have prosperity, they just won't be able to see it. He dwells in the wrong place.

The one biggest factor I have found in my new prayer time is that I am filled with a solid joy. There is no longer room for doubt or despair. I do not see things the way I used to. I completely expect to see fullness where there might be a lack right now. I see opportunity where there is room for growth. I am prepared for change and excited about it. Where there is a small increase in the physical, I see victory.

So prosperity is a mindset. It is trusting God instead of circumstances, our own abilities, the pastor, a church or hymnals to get us through something. We look to focus on Jesus and we display a joy and hope that is so real that it changes the very circumstances we are battling against. But it changes mostly the fact that you can see the prosperity. The prosperity is there but if you are living in a salt desert......

Hebrews 12:2"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus had joy even in the face of his unjust death. Keep looking at him, think of it as a mental staring contest. Don't look away at your problems. Jesus had joy because of where he was looking- at the Father.

I find it interesting that the book of Jeremiah deals with rebellion. I work with teens. I was a teen at one time. Some teens struggle with rebellion in a big way. Those that are rebellious focus on the problems of the world or what they perceive as restraints of being a Christian. Then the negativity sets in and they can't figure out why they can't "feel God" anymore and they spiral into more rebellion. But I think that this passage was to show the Israelites that out of their rebellion comes a mindset that is unable to see the prosperity even when it is there. It's like being color blind and not being able to see orange even though it is there and others can see it. To a color blind person orange is indistinguishable from other colors.

So how to get out of trusting in anything other than God? Begin in the Word. Remember the promises there are for you as well. Also pray about your situation very specifically and in depth. Try just five minutes a day, set the timer and go off by yourself. When you pray, you will begin to look for the answer to prayer and will be much more in tune with changes. Persevere in this because we may give up if we don't see results fast enough, but God doesn't tell us to quit praying when we get frustrated. He will deliver! Lastly, hold captive every thought.

2 Corinthians 10:5- "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Don't let your mind run wild with lies about all the negativity of your life, how bad it is, how much worse it is going to get or even how you are going to fix it. Do not go there! Dwell on God's goodness, not your problems. You will begin to see things from a whole new angle if you make those thoughts obedient to Christ. I know from experience this is hard and I have to vocally yell, "STOP!" to myself because I was so used to letting my mind run wherever it pleased. And like the bumper sticker says, "My mind is too small to be left wandering alone". It gets me into trouble with the negative thoughts that get me into a tizzy only to try to fix things instead of laying them in God's capable hands and leaving them alone. I have found that he can fix things so much better than I would have even dreamed of if I let him. He's a great handyman!

Psalm 1:2b "and on his law he meditates day and night" This passage is speaking of a blessed man. The blessed man meditates on the answer, not the problem. The answer has always existed. Problems change every day and sometimes every hour. The remedy is always the same!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I am finally certain and sure that what I hope for is what will be. God will move. God will be made known. God is going to revolutionize those areas I have been praying about. I have invited him to go to work and he is happy to do so! This hope is solid, not fleeting or forced like a painted on clown face over a very sad person.

If you are still reading and interested, I want to give a personal example in my life of how this has all played out. I used to live constantly in "Camp Tizzy". I worked for a large corporation in the business sales department. It was pretty high pressure and we had mandatory quotas that were required to be met or people lose their jobs. I am great at business! (Kinda why the previous post applies.) I love it. I get wrapped up in strategizing and I am very goal oriented. After almost a year of prospering in my new market, things started to dry up. I was only at 20% of my quota goal, let alone my personal goal. I was doing everything I knew to do. My client appointments would often be an hour's drive one way and I would spend this time literally obsessing about how I was going to move all the pieces into place to make things come together. I need to point out that I didn't even realize I was obsessing because this is pretty much the way I handled all problems and goals in life.

I was attending a ministry at my church called Growth Group. In the midst of my business going down the tubes, I was challenged in this Bible Study to begin to shift my focus away from business and onto Jesus. I was challenged to proclaim the promises in the Bible. But the hardest challenge I had came from Mo. As I was trying to figure out and strategize on how to shift my mindset from constantly trying to maneuver and fix things to focusing on Jesus she said, "Just be." She tried to explain what that meant and at the time the only thing I grasped was, "When you wake up in the morning, have your cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then ask God where he wants you to go for the day and what he wants you to do."

I did that. I never heard God answer about what I should do so I sat on the couch for a month. That was so very hard for me to do. It was literally a test of faith, a test of wills. It was also the first time in four months I met my quota and I won an account that was historic for my company in this state. Kind of an amazing return for sitting on the couch!

What God showed me is that he does not need me to do anything to bless me. In fact, the best thing I can do is get out of the way and wait for him to speak to me. I do not need to struggle, to strategize, to move all the correct pieces into the correct places. I just have to surrender. I think you might find the same thing for yourself. Quit living in the desert and step out to start looking at Christ with everything you have. He will rock your world.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I KNOW! Posting the first comment on my own post! But after I wrote this it led me to another realization.

It's because of last part of the post about figuring out that I just have to get out of God's way and I don't have to put all the right pieces in the right spot to be doing the right thing that I rage so much against people and their rules of godliness because I have such a strong tendency towards being a rule keeper!

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Weets said...

Boy, I have got to sit on the couch more often!

After a few "wilderness" experiences in my early life, I know to regard very trying circumstances as, ultimately, a blessing.

Even so, there was a time last year, when I was hurting for my daughter, that through my tears I looked heavenward and actually said, "But this is not the way I wanted to be blessed!"

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Amy said...

hello there, I came here through Brandy's journal. Hope things are blessed in your part of the world. Saying hi to you from New Zealand.

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At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Evangelist V said...

Reading this letter helped me to realize a lot of things, for the past 3yrs I've been out of work and on today my daughter made me feel so like nothing without knowing it. She (laughed) then said you've been out of work for 3yrs, what you have. Being a minister I think that people think that for some reason things don't get hard for us and we don't feel sad or not so blessed at times. I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for your words of encouragemnet I needed it so much. So often I feel and know just what it was that job went through and felt like when his wife and friends said that he must have done some to be going through so much for so long, but thank you for encouraging me I needed it. Sign: Evangelist V


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