faith and trust

POSSESSION (part 3) Courage to Possess

Possession Introduction here.  Possession (part 2) here.

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Who am I listening to?

Obstacles are about pushing past fear, and Satan knows this.  That’s why he spends so much time pushing the obstacle to block the blessing.  He knows that the more his voice focuses on the problem of the obstacle, the better chance he has of getting us to fold in fear of that obstacle.  It is simply a matter of time.  But, if we choose faith in  God rather than fear of  the obstacle, we become conquerors instead of victims.

Victim:  Fear of the obstacle

Fear is a parasite that feeds on your strength and releases toxin into your soul.  This toxin clouds your mind so you can’t think straight, and it has one purpose:  to mess with your emotions so that you end up with a victim mentality.
The Israelites learned about fear the hard way, remember?  The only ones who actually made it into Canaan were Joshua and Caleb … all the faithless complainers died (Numbers 13/14).  They were unable to conquer because they listened to the wrong counsel – the victims’ counsel.  It’s easy to recognize a victim mentality because their words always diminish.  The scouts themselves were terrified and the only way they could get the Israelites to embrace victim mentality was to convince them of just how impossible it would be to possess Canaan.  So, they gave a report that would distort the nation’s view of God’s power … the power that would have freed them to conquer as they chose obedience to God’s plan. Listen to the negative words that the spies used to cultivate fear instead of faith:

We can’t attack those people;

they’re way stronger than we are. […]

We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole.

Everybody we saw was huge.

Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants.

Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers.

And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

(Numbers 13:31-33)

 

This report was not only false – as it was directly opposite to what God had told them – but it was also malicious and designed to injure His reputation in the eyes of everyone.  The scouts slowly glided through the congregation of Israel whispering secretly to rally everyone against Joshua and Caleb.  It wasn’t that they lied, per se, they just capitalized on only one aspect of the situation.  It was slick and Satan’s fingerprint is all over it:  a lie by omission.  They told the truth, just not the whole truth.

Who am I listening to and what are they saying?

Conqueror:  Faith in God

Conquerors are people like David, Jesus and Peter. They have a power perspective not a victim view.  Goliath was a giant but David didn’t focus on that.  There were only a few fish and some bread, not enough for all the people, but Jesus didn’t focus on that.  Walk on water?  Impossible!  But Peter didn’t focus on that. (At least, not at first)  In Peter we see both choices stacked back to back.  At first he is fully engaged in the power perspective:

“Lord, if it is [really] You, Command me to come to You on the water. […] So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water.

But then his focus shifts to the victim view:

But then he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened and began to sink […].”

Shifting our focus from faith to fear will always diminish us to failure.
Caleb displayed a power perspective by challenging the Israelites to ignore the spies, “Don’t listen to these guys, it doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, whether we are grasshoppers or not, it’s about who God is!  You are focusing on the wrong thing!  If we remember God and choose His promise … we are able.”   Caleb didn’t deny the truth of who or what the obstacles were, but concentrated on God’s supernatural ability instead of human strength.

Wrap up 

quote in textAll marriages face obstacles. Some are small and benign, and perhaps even laughable after some time has passed; and some are great offences that require everything you have in your soul.  It’s the greatest offences that bring greatest temptation to have our focus snatched away from the blessing and centered on the obstacle.
Listen to the voice you are hearing.  Really listen.  What does it say?
Does it say that your land of milk & honey is not possible because the obstacles and the giants are too big for you to conquer?  … too big for God to conquer?  After you listen to the voices is your attention drawn to the obstacle rather than God’s power and blessing?  How about the intent behind the voice?  Does it sound like the scouts – hopeless, weak and giving up in fear?  Or, does it sound like Caleb’s words – full of hope, strength and promise?
In the final analysis we need to silence the voices of the spies by listening to a Caleb; it is a voice that pushes through feelings of fear, with faith in God.  It says:  Don’t be afraid (John 14:27).  You will be more than OK (Rom 8:37).  Never, never,  NEVER give up. (ok, that one was Winston Churchill, but I believe he paraphrased it from Heb 13:5)

Who am I listening to

and are they a Caleb

encouraging me to courageously possess my land?!

A vision beyond today

Ansel Adams Photography

Ansel Adams Photography

God can do anything

  • Is anything too hard for the LORD? -Genesis 18:14
  • For with God nothing shall be impossible. -Luke 1:37

God’s ways are outside our comprehension

  • For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. –Isaiah 55:9

We can’t see our own story accurately

  • Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror … All that I know is partial and incomplete -1 Corinthians 13:12

We are living by faith and not our circumstances

 
“Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
-G.K. Chesterton

Words set blazes (Part 2)

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Part 1 began with walking in faith instead of what you see happening in your marriage.  Ezekiel’s example of believing the impossible instead of trying to figure it out allowed him to co-operate with God as He raised dry bones to life.

(Continuing with Part 2)

DON’T give yourself an emotional lobotomy by pretending there are no problems in your marriage.  God didn’t ask Ezekiel to pretend that the bones weren’t dead.  In fact, He drew his attention to them:

God grabbed me.  God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones.  He led me around among them — a lot of bones all over the plain — dry bones, bleached by the sun. -Ezekiel 37:1-2 emphasis added

God allowed Ezekiel to see both of the options in front of him.  Would he trust what he saw in the natural?  Or would he choose faith and trust in Who God is?  It seems like God was asking Ezekiel to examine what his faith was rooted in – himself or God:

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” -Ezekiel 37:3 emphasis added

Through Ezekiel’s response it’s easy to see that he didn’t trust himself:

I said, “Master God, only you know that.” -Ezekiel 37:3 emphasis added

The problems in our marriages aren’t supposed to be the focus, because we can’t change or fix them – God should be our focus because only he can fix the problems.  God gives us the power to choose what we will focus on so the problems (of others) don’t consume us.  If you believe your husband has a problem with abc – do you not think that God also has a problem with abc*? Telling people about abc doesn’t encourage God to heal or restore. Complaining about the same problem only gives it more power over us by concentrating our focus on one area and closing us to the rest of the person.

DO set your husband free to be the man God has called him to be.  This is the true gift we give each other.  The freedom we’ve received is the freedom we are to give.  The choice is found in our free will to grow and learn – in all our humanness – as we become shaped into the destiny God wants.

DO accept God’s invitation to co-operate as He heals your marriage.

Work Towards a Positive Blaze

1)  Watch your focus.  Resist the temptation to concentrate on your husband’s faults.  Pray for ‘the way of escape from temptation’. A clearer vision of my own faults and the problems I caused was more often than not that way of escape. It takes two to tango.  Even if my responsibility is only 2%, I have to focus one hundred percent on that 2% – not my husband’s 98%.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice or consider the beam [of timer] that is in your own eye? –Luke 6:41

2)  Watch your words.  The focus of the mind leads your thoughts, thoughts lead your words, and actions are the manifestation.  Where the mind goes, the body will follow.  (Proverbs 23:7)  God has given my words the enormous power to affect my life and those around me.  The choice is mine:  Construction (Ephesians 4:29) or destruction (Colossians 3:8).

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21 emphasis added)

3)  Express your expectations to God.  Expectations are not demands.  Demands center around what I think is best.  Expectations center around what God knows is best.  Expecting God to act  will remove all limits!

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect?  My hope and expectation are in You. -Psalm 39:7

I called a healing marriage into reality through confidence in God. God didn’t begin healing in our marriage because of my words. Neither did He raise those people from the dead because of Ezekiel’s words. Only when I spoke what He told me to speak – as Ezekiel spoke what he was told to speak – did God work in our marriage.

Speak positive sparks about your husband

and watch God build the blaze.

 

* This presupposes that abc is actually a sin against God and not just something you don’t agree with, like, or have a different opinion about.