What in Heaven is going on here?
OK last time we talked about power over sin. Tonight we're gonna talk about an attitude ... heavenly or hellish. Which do you have?
Father God we lift up this study and pray that it will speak blessings to those who are here ... give us wisdom and understanding and more power over sin. In Jesus Name AMEN
OlePappy - Father, bless us with Your knowledge from Your Holy Word. Lord give us the wisdom to use it in our daily lives. Thank You Father in Jesus name. Amen
Now the first statement I'm gonna make might offend you ... but hang on... there's a point to it, K?
Have you ever heard those statements, or said them yourself? Exactly what did you mean by it? I was thinking that the reason that so many of us have struggles is that we are concentrating more on what the devil is doing, or what we think hes doing, in our lives, than in the work of Heaven in us.
There are a lot of "rednecks" around my area, and they often use this phrase for a greeting, much like most would say "hello". But do they really HEAR what they are saying? Our common patterns of speech often reveals more about our heart than we know!
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
The Bible very clearly tells us if we are believers that God is working in us, and will complete His good work. Are we cooperating with God? Are we looking for evidence that He is working in our lives? Or are we giving more place to the devil and walking in doubt and fear?
Paul said in this verse that God WILL complete His good work in you do you believe that? Are you asking, "What in Heaven is going on here?" Thats a more useful question than looking for the devils work, which the OTHER statement implies..
Are we being confident in God that He WILL do as He says? Or are we being confident in fear, doubt, confusion, and the devils power to destroy us? In other words, is our attitude and the words that express it heavenly or hellish?
The writer of Hebrews concludes with this blessing:Hebrews 13:20-21 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We are told not only that God is working in our lives, but also that He has equipped or furnished everything we need for doing His will. And He will give us peace in the midst of the storm. Although it looks like "all hell has broken lose", God is in control.
Refuse to be moved by circumstances and events. Refuse to let your emotions overtake you and discourage you. Look for what Heaven is doing. Confess, no matter what it looks like, that "all Heaven has broken lose and God is working in MY behalf to bring victory!" What a difference one little word makes! Praise the Lord.
Romans 8:28 (Amplified) We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
What does this verse mean to you? Now this doesnt say that all things that happen to us ARE good, but that all things are working together FOR good when we love God and have answered His call of love to us for salvation. God is partnering with us to bring us to victory.
Amen cofc good point! The storm certainly wasn't good, Peter sinking certainly wasn't good, but it all worked together FOR good because of the lesson of faith it taught them all.
If all things are working together FOR good, then no matter what it looks like at present, no matter what hardship we might be going through, no matter what others say or think, then we need not concern ourselves with the negative side what it SEEMS like the devil is trying to do to us. We need for focus on what God is bringing out of what seems like defeat.
AMEN cofc! And when we look at trials and hardships in the light of "what is this doing FOR my good", then we get a whole new perspective on them. Or in terms of our topic we might say "What in heaven is happening to bring about things FOR my good". Let's look at one example of a heavenly attitude towards adversity: Joseph.
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Now the speaker in this verse is Joseph. If you arent familiar with his story, read Genesis chapters 37 to 50. Joseph was a good-looking boy and his fathers favorite. And God had set Himself to bless Joseph, and to accomplish mighty things through him, which God revealed to Joseph in a dream.
But the devil had his plans too and as you read the story of Josephs life, it seemed like just one big disaster after another. If Joseph at any time had concentrated on what hell was trying to accomplish, he would have never succeeded.
What were some of the things that Joseph suffered? Well his brothers hated him, and at first were going to murder him. Then they decided just to sell him into slavery. So they did that, and then put some goats blood on Josephs clothes and told his father he was dead.
Well being a slave in those days was almost worse than death, and Joseph came into the household of a guy named Potiphar in Egypt. However, God blessed Joseph, and he became the steward or manager of all Potiphar had. Well and good, you might say.
Well again, the devil had other plans, and tempted Potiphars wife to lust after Joseph. She tried to get him to sleep with her, and when he refused, she cried rape and had him thrown into prison.
Prison wasnt pretty in those days. Its a wonder anyone survived. And the devil was gloating over what he had done to Gods servant. But did Joseph focus on hell? Nope, he focused on God.
Now as Joseph was in prison, God blessed him there and he became what we would call a "trustee". In fact, the warden or prison keeper gave Joseph control over the rest of the prisoners. Even in what seems to be hell, God can bless you if you focus on Him.
While Joseph was in jail, the king threw his cupbearer and baker into prison also. They both had dreams, which Joseph interpreted as God showed him what they meant. In three days, one was to die, and one was to live and be restored to his position with the king.
Sure enough, the cupbearer was restored to his position and the baker was executed. Well Joseph had asked the cupbearer to remember him and help him, but the cupbearer forgot. So much for depending on mans help!
Psalm 105:18-19 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.
For two more long, weary years after that, Joseph remained in jail, forgotten and abandoned. That would have been a great time for a pity party, wouldnt it? But Joseph wasnt looking for what the devil was seeking to do in his life, but for the fulfillment of the word of the Lord in his life.
Then the king of Egypt, or Pharaoh, had a disturbing dream about 7 lean cows eating 7 fat ones, and 7 blighted sheaves [or bundles] of wheat devouring 7 full sheaves of wheat. This dream really upset Pharaoh, but none of his counselors could interpret it.
NOW the cupbearer remembers Joseph! He is sent for, cleaned up and shaved and brought into the Pharaohs presence. Joseph admitted that HE could not interpret the dream himself, but that God would give the answer. He told Pharaoh that 7 good years of harvest were coming, but that they would be followed by 7 years of famine.
Now one year of famine would be awful, but 7 years would probably have killed almost everyone. Then Joseph set forth a plan to reserve part of the harvest of the good years to cover the bad years. Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph ruler over all Egypt, second only to himself.
In the course of his leadership, the very brothers that had sold Joseph as a slave had to come to Egypt to buy food. After three trips, Joseph revealed himself as their brother. They were fearful of his wrath, but Joseph forgave them.
This is when Joseph said:Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Joseph is speaking to his brothers here. They had no thought of brotherly love or their future when they sold Joseph as a slave. They had no idea of all the things they would cause their brother to suffer.
But through it all, Joseph focused on what Heaven was accomplishing in his life that the word the Lord had given him would come to pass. He realized that the devil working through his brothers had tried to destroy him.
BUT GOD had a different plan, and as Joseph trusted God and looked to Him through all the hardships, difficulties and pain, God fulfilled His purpose in Josephs life. And Josephs faithfulness to God not only saved his own life, and the lives of his family, but indeed several nations.
There used to be a saying when I was growing up "He or She is so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good". Do you think this is true? Can you be TOO heavenly minded?
If Joseph wasn't heavenly minded, if he had had his focus on God, what would have happened to him AND his family AND the rest of the world?
Amen Ruth I was hoping someone would say that!
You know in the Lord's prayer, Jesus taught us to pray "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". Isn't that praying the will of God into our everyday lives? Isn't that bringing the power and focus of heaven to earth? When you think about it, we accomplish nothing for God if we aren't heavenly minded.
2 Timothy 2:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
It doesnt matter what hell is doing, it doesnt matter that satan attacks you! We are promised RESCUE from every evil attack, and that we will be brought safely to his heavenly kingdom! Glory to God forever! AMEN
Now Paul certainly knew about hell's attacks! His account of all the misery inflicted on him would make a plot for quite an action adventure film! But he was expressing his faith that God would deliver him from EVERY evil attack ... we might get attacked, but God delivers!
Paul faced hunger and cold, beatings, lions in the arena, being left for dead, shipwreck ... just about any calamity you can think of, Paul went through it! But since he WAS heavenly minded, he was delivered from every trial.
Yeah mom, we seem to remember THOSE kinds of lessons the best!
Makes you wonder what he saw, doesn't it? And how we could get to that point that God would trust us with Heaven's secrets?
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Now what do you think Paul meant by "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"? Why does Paul say to work out your salvation with fear and trembling? Does that mean that we are to cower in fear before the devil and worry about what hell thinks? NO NO NO, a thousand times NO!!!
It is GOD who works in you it is GOD we need to be concerned with it is what GOD is doing in our lives that we should focus on. God WILL bring about his good purpose (KJV says "good pleasure") in us as we obey and focus on HIM. Being always mindful of the work of heaven, we tremble lest we miss it! Now this next verse is one I would quote to my kids when they were whining ...
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out [or hold on to] the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
We need to hold ON to the Word of life concentrate on what Heaven is doing in our lives. We need to hold OUT the Word of life to a lost and dying world. They too need to know that what Heaven is doing in their lives is what is going to last eternally.
Reformer, I don't worry about others ... that's between them and God. For myself I seek to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Yes Festuss! And part of being heavenly minded is to realize that and grab hold of them by faith!
We live in a crooked and depraved generation a generation "going to hell in a hand basket", a generation that seems bent on self-destruction. Are we to focus on that and join the "Woe is Me Club"?
NO we are to be shining lights, not complaining and grumbling like the world does, but holding fast onto the Word of life, and proclaiming LIFE to a lost and dying world.
Again I say: Refuse to be moved by circumstances and events. Refuse to let your emotions overtake you and discourage you. Look for what Heaven is doing. Confess, no matter what it looks like, that "all Heaven has broken lose and God is working in MY behalf to bring victory!"
Father we thank you for the Word brought forth tonight. Help us to be heavenly minded, not to give in to despair, but to ask "What in HEAVEN is going on here?" no matter what the circumstances. Thank you in Jesus Name AMEN
This was a discussion on Seeking Jesus in the Bible Study Chat Room at ChurchUSA.com. We meet on Fridays at 8 PM Eastern. Please join us!