Spiritual Fog

Jesus and His disciples came to Bethsaida, a blind man was brought to him and he begged Jesus to touch him and give him his sight. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had put his hands on him and wiped spit in his eyes. Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22-26, NIV)blindness

The Bible describes four occasions when Jesus healed the blind.  Only on one occasion did He touch a person twice to heal them completely.  I have read this passage many times but when I reading it recently it occurred to me how unusual this was.  Not only did Jesus touch the blind man twice, but he took him out of his surroundings and told him not to return to the village after he received his sight.

Jesus did nothing without purpose and that would not bring glory to the Father.  Every miracle He performed had a purpose other than the healing of the individual(s).  The people of the region did not acknowledge Jesus although they were aware of His many miracles.  They had no faith, and because of their unbelief, He did not perform many miracles in the region.  In Matthew 23:26, Jesus admonishes the Pharisees for their unbelief.  Jesus also used this as a lesson for His disciples.  They who were closest to Jesus believed in Him but did not have clear spiritual vision.  Their vision was clearer than the Pharisees who were spiritually blind, but the disciples could not see clearly.  Their vision did not become clear until after Jesus’ death and resurrection when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they understood clearly all that Jesus had said and done.

All Believers have what I call spiritual fogginess at one time or the other, and some never get passed the fog.  This is often because we are so used to being in a fog that we are unaware of its existence.  Jesus asked the blind man of Bethsaida whether he was able to see clearly and he acknowledged that he saw people who looked like trees moving.  We do have someone to tell us we are in a spiritual fog and need to seek another healing touch to clear our sight–The Holy Spirit.  We must pray and listen to the quiet voice of the Spirit within us for help in moving away from the fog.

Our Spiritual Enlightenment is a continuous process.  We cannot see God’s truth clearly until our faith, obedience and growth develop in Jesus, “… the author and finisher of our faith….”  (Hebrew 12:2, NKJV) who increases the clarity of our spiritual vision through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Reaching Forward

Philippians 3:13, “… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (AMP)

You cannot see what God has for your future while hanging onto your past.  God is the future. As we await the dawning of a New Year, we reach forward towards the unknown–developing goals to propel us into the future and the better life we want for ourselves and our families.  Many of these goals reflect changes we want to make in our own behavior.  As this New Year’s Eve brings us closer to the beginning of a New Year, our determination gets stronger to carry out our goals.

After the newest of the New Year wears off, many of us will settle back into the same old habits and the new goals become nothing more than a fond and frustrating memory to be filed away.  We have all done it; reached for the future and the unknown but allowed Satan to pull us back into the familiar and limited.  Doubts about the future and our past failures all bloom on the horizon reminding us of our fears and futile efforts of the past.

To get to the next thing, God has for you, you must leave the old and familiar.  A perfect example of this can be found in Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9).  He left everything he was familiar with and traveled with his family to an unknown country.  Three years ago my family and I made a move from North Carolina to Florida.  We did not know where we would be spending the night, had no job awaiting us, and only knew one person who lived in Florida.  What we did know was that it was time to leave North Carolina.  Everything went smoothly during the over 800 mile drive, my daughter driving the moving truck and I drove the car.  We found a hotel upon arrival that accepted dogs (We have two small ones.) and soon we found a house to rent, my daughter found a job and we were settled within a month of our arrival.  Sometimes, I still look back at and am amazed at how God looked out for us and put things in place for my family.  Truly,  I believe and have experienced His love.  I feel as though I have been sheltered from the storm.

Staying with a situation or a person longer than you should instead of moving toward the new thing that God has for you keeps you from the destiny that God has designated for you.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit within you gently pushing you toward the unknown and God’s future for you?  Are you reaching, but holding back?  Let Go and Let God is an expression I heard many years ago, but it still rings true.  Abraham listened to the Lord when told to leave all he knew and ventured forth with courage and did not doubt.  silhouette-936721_640Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Additional Scripture to help you move forward.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (KJV)

Isaiah 43:18, ““Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past.  (AMP)

1 Peter, “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

I pray that Everyone’s New Year is Happy, Prosperous, and

you attain your goals for 2017.

Courage

lion-515028_640Courage – The quality of mind or spirit that enables one to deal with or face danger, fear, pain, etc; the confidence to act in accordance with one’s belief.

Joshua is one of my favorite prophets of the Old Testament.  He was the first prophet after Moses, the greatest of them all; hand-picked by God and a man who God talked with face-to-face.  Joshua as Moses’ second-in-command was brought up under the tutelage of Moses.  Moses was truly a tough act to follow.

After the death of Moses, Joshua had to step-up and lead the people into the Promised Land across the Jordan.  Can you imagine trying to step into the shoes of Moses.  I am sure that this heavy responsibility caused Joshua to doubt his abilities and result in some sleepless nights.  God and Moses knew of Joshua’s uncertainty that is why Moses “… laid his hands upon him [Joshua]; at an assembly of the people so the Israelites would listen to him and do as the Lord commanded.” (Deuteronomy 34:9, Amplified)   At the laying on of Moses’ hands, Joshua not only received confirmation of the handing over of  leadership to him but he also received the spirit of wisdom from Moses.  Without this confirmation the Israelites would more than likely not accepted Joshua after Moses without question for they were known for being a stiff-necked and difficult people.

Joshua was told by the Lord to  “Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous … ” (Joshua 1:6-7, AMP)

I cannot count how many times I have read Joshua 1:6-9 during times of trials in my life.  Each time I read this Scripture it gave me the strength to continue.  When I was car-less and had to ride the bus and subway an hour and a-half to work each day and then return in the evening to begin my other job as a mom to my two kids, cooking dinner, helping with homework, cleaning up, etc. believe me I needed all the strength I could muster. Joshua 1:9 was just one of the scriptures that I wrote on a 3×5 card and read every day, but this one was one of my favorites. So many times as I got tired, depressed, and frustrated reading about what God said to Joshua encouraged me to keep on going and reminded me that my family depended on me to be courageous and keep going.  As I often told my kids,

Giving up is not an option!

Grow in Grace

II Peter 3:18, “…but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (AMP)

Grace defined is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

As we pray for God’s saving Grace in times of trouble, He may give us Grace to be delivered out of the trouble or He may give us Grace to go through.  Only God can make the choice.

A loving parent may tell his or her teenager not to hang around a certain group or individual because they are always in trouble at school.  The parent is sure that no good can come out of associating with this person or group.  The teenager ignores the parent (because parents never know what they are talking about) and continues the association.  The association leads to a problem with the police.  Not necessarily because the teenager committed a crime, but because they were on the scene.  The parent may immediately come in response to “The Call” or wait until the next day.  The parent is not being mean or uncaring.  It is just as difficult for them to wait at home as it is for the teenager.  But spending the time in a holding cell will allow the kid to remember the parent’s warning and regret their decision to ignore it.

God is a loving parent to all His children.  He wants only the best for us.  If he decides to remove us from the trouble, He will.  If He decided to strengthen you to go through it, He will.  His knowledge of the future and the benefit derived from the lesson learned is for our good.  My personal experience has been that some lessons are learned and retained when you have to go through until the end.  The good news is that He never leaves you, has strengthened you to overcome, and that although we do not believe so at the time, we take a step towards greater maturity.

Regardless, if God removes you from the trial which seems to be constantly on the arisen or strengthens you to go through it, His love and grace are surrounding you and are your protective armor.

Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Save

Treasure to the Believer’s Soul

Deciding to get baptized as an adult is a big decision, and as I stood waiting to be led up the steps to the baptismal pool, so many thoughts ran through my mind.  Did I really want to do this? I knew I wanted to get closer to God and build a better relationship with him. Since I was in my forties, just getting baptized, I wondered if it would make a big difference in my life, would I feel differently? I knew that there was more to God’s Word than I was aware of and although I had been reading the Bible and going to church off and on for many years, I did not have an understanding of exactly who I was and my inheritance as a child of God.  I wanted to feel more and understand what I was missing of God’s promise to his people.  In other words, I was still looking for my God-given purpose.

Stress and Worry

I knew that I suffered from too much stress. I was always nervous and tense. Worry was my constant companion. As a single mother of two kids trying to support and raise my kids properly, at least better than I felt that I was raised, hard work and a strong work ethic sums up what I felt I inherited from my parents. I had controlling issues.  As the oldest of four kids and the only girl, I was used to being in control and acted with authority in most situations.  Tired and stressed most of the time was a normal part of my life, but I knew that there was more to life than this.  I understood enough about the Bible to realize that I needed to remedy my situation before I worried myself into an illness.  I watched several members of my family, suffer through illnesses that could not only be linked to food, but also to stress and worry. I decided at an early age, that I was not going out like that. Deep within I knew that the answer to many of my problems was centered around lack of faith in God and a total ignorance of His Promise.  I think that is what started me going to church to try to find the treasure I knew God had made available to me since I was not having much luck finding it myself.  So I felt it was time to get serious about building my relationship with God and my first step would be to get baptized.

Sharing Abraham’s Promise

As I mentioned before I read the Bible, but did not have an in-depth understanding of how to relate God’s words to what I was encountering in my daily life.  I was having difficulty just understanding where I as a Gentile (anyone who is not a Jew) even fit into God’s plan.  I Corinthians 8:6 says, “There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” (NLT)  cleared my understanding of my entitlement in God’s promise. I was overjoyed to be a joint inheritor of the kingdom Jesus Christ died to make available for us.  And then I read Romans 4:16 which confirms my inheriting the treasure chest filled with the bounty of God’s grace and mercy. Because I share the faith of Abraham, I can become a daughter of Abraham and, therefore, share in God’s promise to him.

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. (NLT)

When my turn arrived, I pictured the treasure chest waiting for me filled with the treasures that Jesus mentioned during His time on earth–Grace, Salvation, Love–precious gifts that are treasures that cannot be brought with gold or silver.  Although this was many years ago, I remember the event like it was yesterday.  I really expected things to change in a big way in my life.  But they did not.  And interestingly enough I did not feel much different than I did before I went into the pool.  No strange light, no revelation, no feeling of newness.  As a new creature in Christ, I did not feel any different.  I turned this over and over in my brain as I changed and got dressed.

My Change

As I look back my changes came gradually over a long period of time.  My changes have so gradual that I did not realize they were happening. Over the years that I have changed in many areas of my life, and I am more conscience of the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me what to do and what not to do.  The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always working with me and shaping me.  I still have a long way to go, but progress has been made, and I will continue to work on it with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Don’t let your treasure chest lay unopened.

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