Thought for the Week - 4th August 2016

Pastor Gareth Watkins
Isaiah 30:18-22

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
You will also defile the covering of your images of silver,
And the ornament of your molded images of gold.
You will throw them away as an unclean thing;
You will say to them, “Get away!”

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God
which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
so that you come short in no gift,
eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will also confirm you to the end,
that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship
of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Earlier in the week, I listened to a man on the radio who’d been a Pastor in the communist countries during communism.  He said that 95% of the Christians who were persecuted, endured their persecution. They came out the other end of it and carried on in their faith.  However, he also said that 95% of the Christians who encountered materialism faltered in their faith.  How subtle the enemy is!

Lots of things can be that materialism in our lives today – our work, the nice car our lifestyles etc.  Each of these things have the potential to be idols to us, and become grounds for a fall.

These are used by the enemy to keep people away from God.  Yet, God shows us the way through this life and through the complicated things that come.  We must not be distracted… we either go through it in God’s way, or our own.

In the scriptures above we read this is the way walk in it… He’s waiting for you!  It’s very personal – He will be gracious to you, He will have mercy for you!  Every part of it is addressed to you!  Through these times of challenge, strain, and materialism… He’s waiting for you!  During the times of materialism, He has set a path for us to walk through these challenges up to the day of the Lord.  We are not bound or doomed to fail!

What does materialism mean to you?  Does it mean you’re driven like a rat on a wheel?  That family position drives you away from God?  That pleasure drives you away from God?  God tells us a clear direction to walk in Him.  When we are struggling,  He will be doing his part.  The God of all creation and eternity is waiting for you!

These verses confirm the call of God on you!  Not in general, but to you as an individual.  If your way is clouded by different things, then look to God for the way.  He has promised the way to walk.  We don’t have to be lost and wandering – we can look to our God – He will guide us through the complexities of life!

There is a call that can guide us from this day into eternity.  We will be called blameless!  When?  In the day of the Lord!  We are all going to come to that day, it cannot be avoided.  If we walk that path He has appointed us, then when that day comes, we will be blameless.  The Church in general has lost that teaching these days – it’s more about good deeds and acting nice.  But there is a day of accountability when we stand before him in eternity.  Many Christians have lost the teaching of the judgement of the living and the dead.  We’ve all fallen short, but we can stand before Him as blameless.  If we carry on walking that narrow road, He will show us mercy and graciousness.

So where’s the edge between requirement and materialism, which takes you away from God?  When you place something higher than God; when something becomes an idol or a blockage between you and God.  Navigating our way through materialism isn’t straight forward.  Through it all, God tells us this is the way, walk in it!  He tells us that our ears shall hear this Word.  If we walk in the way following God, His Word won’t leave us.  And so the anointing, protection, blessings, covering and miracles of God come.  He is gracious to us!

Do we see that we’re on the right path under God?  It’s a simple call… that’s the way I need to go, this is the way I have to go under God.

We read in Isaiah 30: 20 that adversity and affliction will enter our lives.  Does God allow us to have adversity and affliction in our lives?  Yes, He does.  God allows certain things like sickness, financial difficulties, false accusations and other challenges of life. This cloud of things will cause affliction, adversity and distress.  However, the path is set.  These things may or may not come, but the path is set.  We deal with them as we go.

Why does He allow these things?  To bring us into a place where all materialism, pride and self is gone.  Our dependency is not on the things of life, but in Christ alone – that’s all that matters.  A few weeks ago I wrote of Gideon.  His dependence was on God entirely to defeat the Midianites.  God uses these things to strip us of all we are, so that Christ might shine through.

The path is there for you, keep on going!  The blessings, mercy and graciousness will come.  The path is set and your name is on it.  Your confirmation comes from God until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. That day of the ” Lord Jesus Christ ” is one appointment we will not be late for and we will not miss.. Each one will be called to give an account in front of our lives in front of the creator of the heavens and the earth…

Are you faltering at the altar of materialism?  Are you holding onto images and desires that are not of God?  Are you bending your knee to something in this life that is not of God? Are you listening to your teachers?  This is the way, walk in it.

Walk in the way that God has called you and do not falter.

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