The Pit and the Wilderness

“Oh, Lord, how long will you leave me helpless in a weary land.”
The Lord is good and has blessed me, but I was again feeling low and downtrodden.

This scene years ago was one of my days of wandering in this wilderness.  The feeling was unexplainable and very real.  Prayer and God’s Word are very real also, but feelings sometimes seem to have the upper hand.

“O Lord, hear.  O Lord, forgive.  O Lord, hearken and do.
Defer not, for thy own sake, O my God.”
  (Daniel 9:18)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the time of His choosing, He answered my prayer.

When life seemed so bleak, the Lord heard my cries and spoke as He often does by His Spirit. In the middle of my distress was the assurance of His presence.

Yes, this world is a wilderness; but
I have brought you out of the pit.”

The vision I had was of a desert with nothing living; no people; no trees; no vegetation, only dead weeds; and only a lonely existence with cloudy skies.  I was there to endure this barrenness, and to experience His grace in the middle of it.

The Pit

In the distance was a wide black cavern.  It appeared wider, deeper and darker as He led me closer.  Around the cavern was a tall fence, and He led me to look through the slats into the pit below.

Leaning against the sides of this black hole were ladders. On these ladders were people trying to get out.  The ladders were too short and the people could not climb over the fence.

Even though there was a stench, I was drawn to see the depth of the blackness and, by His light, to see the people.  Those in the bottom of the pit were watching with amusement the wickedness being committed in the darkness.

The cries of others were mixed with the sounds of corruption.

I was reminded of the words in 1 John 5:19  the whole world lieth in wickedness.”
The ESV translates, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

It was in this vision that my view of the wilderness changed.  It became a reminder for the remainder of my pilgrimage that the wilderness is the place God provided for our first parents when they were ejected from the Garden; this wilderness through which He would bring me to Himself for eternity.  Here is where the Glad Rule was established for Jerry and me.

The Psalmist’s words became mine as I was reminded of the miry clay and the rock.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit,
out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.
Psalm 40:2

As I watched, there were some being airlifted by His Holy Spirit.
It is God who brings us out and leads us to rejoice in this wilderness.

  My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Psalm 119:28

“In the pits” is a common expression to describe the feelings of depression.  “Down in the dumps” is another means when things are not going well for us, or when some physical malady brings us down.  We sometimes stay there without trying to get out ~ unless God works through our circumstances to bring us out.

Other times we look for help, either by sharing our feelings with someone; or we use alcohol, drugs, or some other method.  The world offers many kinds of therapy for this condition.

Many times, even from childhood, this malady was part of my life.  As with other children who grew up with parents who have lived through the Great Depression of the 1920s, our environment was not always a happy one. Not taught the principles of the promises of God, we were prone to look for the worst in everything.

God was gracious in my childhood to introduce me to His Word, though it was not what I relied on as a child. During the 1940s, public schools were free to pray and speak of God, but He was not the main theme. God was not the principal but men promoted what the world set forth for their own benefit.

In addition to the Depression, my parents grew up with the superstitions of their day ~  black cats, ladders, bad luck, etc. Then my generation added Mother Goose Rhymes, Pop Goes the Weasel, and such songs that have no reference to God and His promises. I saw my generation as the lost generation.

Even though a war had ended, we were left with only the ashes of hope. For most families, God was not known, even to those who attended houses of worship. The church was only a place to congregate and share each other’s woes.

According to the preaching of hellfire and brimstone, all our troubles were the results of our own doing. If only we would turn from our sins, God would be gracious to us and make life better. But, even those who had believed, been baptized and joined the church had no better hope than those who did not believe. They did not live by faith in God’s provisions, but by sight, according to the circumstances of the day.

“The pit” is a horrible place to be and sometimes this is the only place some people know. Their whole life is a pit and they have no control over their circumstances. Until a person comes to faith in God, through the redeeming work of Christ, life on this earth is but a pit, a preface to the eternal pit that is prepared for the devil and his angels.

Things may seem to go well at times ~ when we have accomplished something on our own ~ or someone has been good to us. But these are only temporary. We cannot place any hope in other people or these things.

Our only hope is in God our Father through His Son and His Holy Spirit ~ knowing Him, His promises, His presence, and power for our deliverance and guidance through this life.

(This post in two parts is an excerpt from The Pit and the Wilderness and Other Visions of God’s Grace. Visions and poems are few and far between for me. They are never spectacular but simple and usually to the point of a special truth He wants to reveal. Part Two explains more of the Lord’s plans for us as we live in the wilderness, trusting Him and waiting for the new heavens and new earth.)

Dear Father, thank you for your truths by which you minister to us in this wilderness; for your Word of Life in Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Images: Pixabay

Words of Life ~ AUTHOR(ITY)

We originally intended to use only the word AUTHORITY, but reconsidered when we searched the meanings. Hopefully, the reader will understand our starting with the word AUTHOR used only in the New Testament.
G159 Strong’s concordance defines AUTHOR; aitios ī-‘tē-os
that in which the cause of anything resides, causative, causing
Hence, the author of a cause

God our Father is the cause (author) of creation, the author of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), in Christ, the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9), and the author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Old Testament H7235
Strong’s Concordance defines AUTHORITY; rabahrä·vä’; be or become great
The same word is used for more, much, multiply, and increase

Proverbs 29:2 speaks those who are in authority.

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

New Testament G1849
Strong’s Concordance defines AUTHORITY; exousia eks-ü-sē’-ä;
from G1832 in the sense of ability; force; competency; mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control) delegated influence:—authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.
It is the same word used for power. Use the above link to see all references for this word.

Jesus’ Authority

 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18

And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” John 5:27

In Matthew 8:9, the centurion’s recognition of Jesus’ authority was relative to his authority over his soldiers, in that he trusted Jesus to say the word and His servant would be healed.

The people recognized Jesus’ authority in the way He taught and in His authority casting out unclean spirits.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22

And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out”. Luke 4:36

When questioned by the chief priests and the elders about His authority to teach, heal, and command what He did, Jesus asked them a question which they would not answer for fear of disqualifying themselves (Matthew 21:23-27).

Men’s Authority
 Luke 9:1 records Jesus giving His twelve disciples power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
But when two of them desired to rule with Him, Jesus had to rebuke them, teaching that authority is given by Him but not in this life.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

Luke 19:17 speaks of the authority given to a good servant; thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Paul’s Authority
Paul speaks to Jesus on the road to Damascus of authority he received from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name (Acts 9:14).

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” Acts 26:10; Acts 26:12

Paul’s authority from the chief priests changed to authority from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:8  speaks of Paul’s authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification of the church.

In 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul, recognizing that all is under God’s authority, speaks of praying for all men that are in civil authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Paul speaks to Timothy, instructing him in the area of teaching.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2;12

And to the young minister Titus:

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authorityLet no man despise thee.” Titus 2:15

John records in Revelation 13:2 the authority given to the beast.

Final Authority

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 1 Corinthians 15:24

There is a promise for those who obey, serve Him, and overcome the opposition.

The one who conquers (overcomes) and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority (power) over the nations.” Revelation 2:26 (ESV)

He is the first and final authority over all the world ~ giving peace, eternal salvation and faith to His people. With authority and power, He will usher in His new heavens and earth in His timing. He is the author ~ therefore, the authority ~ over all time, over all things and circumstances.

From the beginning of creation to the end of this world, God’s authority stands. He rules in power over all even though not all believe or accept His authority. The antithesis began in the Garden of Eden and will continue until Christ’s second coming when all those against His authority in Christ will be put under His feet ~ all to His glory.

Gracious Father, we praise you for Christ our Lord whom you made to be the author and finisher of our faith when you raised Him from the dead and seated Him at your right hand with authority and power over all things. Enable us to remember through your Spirit and your Word to whom we belong and who we serve. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

In Anticipation of The New Creation

In our last post An Incarnation for a New Creation we saw the means of God’s plan to reconcile His people to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5)
In Christ we are a new creation, but this is just a means to an end.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot
inherit the kingdom of God,
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
1 Corinthians 15:50

Why do we need to be reborn spiritually? Otherwise we would not be compatible with the new heavens and the new earth where all is righteousness, and where we, who are being conformed to the image of Christ, will receive a crown of righteousness. (2 Timothy 4:8)
He promises that we shall rule with Him and share His glory. (Colossians 3:3-4; 1 John 3:1-3; Romans 8:17,30; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 1:6)

We must be reformed, transformed, and conformed so that we may enter the heavenly city. Remember the wedding guest, who was thrown out because he was not wearing a wedding garment. We must be in Christ and robed in His righteousness to be acceptable.

The earth is our physical mother. Heaven, the New Jerusalem is our spiritual, eternal mother.
We are born of the Spirit for eternity with God in heaven.

“But the Jerusalem above is free,
and she is our mother. “
(Galatians 4:5-6)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.~ and a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:26-29)

 “But according to his promise
we are waiting for

new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.”

2 Peter 3:13

8eec95a26defb892b7aad6e86aab7318“And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Revelation 21:5

What should we be doing in anticipation of the fulfillment of this promise? We should not be wasting our time and talents, but growing spiritually, glorifying Him and rejoicing in Him. (Philippians 4:4)

“But grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory
both now and to the day of eternity.”
Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

Dear Father, we praise you for your plan. Only you knew how it would work. Thank you for the power of your Spirit, through Christ and your written word, to reveal and fulfill your plan in us, now and for eternity. Thank you for planting the seed that died and now bears the fruit of righteousness in us. Water and bring to fruition that for which you came to us in Christ, your Son. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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