Holy Spirit – Rain or Hail?

There was a storm yesterday at our farm,  and everything was wet with leaves and tree limbs on the ground – but at our house, we just got a sprinkle. Some people hated seeing the rain because it stopped ballgames and spring events, while some farmers were blessed to have it show up in time for their crops. The same front rolled through, but lives were touched differently depending on their own perspective. 

Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, Though hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey.
Isaiah 32:15‭-‬20 NKJV

The same Holy Spirit that is poured out on the children of God to produce a fruitful and spiritually abundant life – that will produce peace and righteousness and rest – will seem devastating and dreadful to the enemies of God. People who are enemies of morality and self control do not like being in the presence of someone that lives a peaceful and righteous life.

When we are not yielded to God, it convicts us about the sin in our own lives more than loud preaching ever could. It humiliates us (whether or not we admit it openly) when we witness another person walking in self control and power of spirit when we are prisoners to our own desires, wrapped up in sin that we are not willing to let go of.

I don’t say this to boast in our own self control or to leave us in guilt and shame – but to boast in the Holy Spirit given to us that is not of fear, but of love, power, and self control. We are no longer powerless, and this is something worth celebrating – it is Good News!

And our job is to sow the seed of Christ,  to love and serve,  to walk in the Spirit, and to tell people this Good News – whether they receive it as annointing for their lives or whether they resist it is not our responsibility. We do not have to subtract from the Word to make them comfortable, nor do we have to add to the Word to scare them. We simply need to continue growing and learning and walking and sharing openly – letting the Truth do the work – letting the Holy Spirit have His way.

As you share the Good News, as you share your testimony,  worry less about the perceived effectiveness or ineffectiveness of your “winning souls” and focus more on your expressing the peace, joy, and gratitude that is in your heart for what He had done for you. Being a witness is less about you, it is even less about them, and it is most about God. Praise His name today with your life, with your words, with your actions, and sow the seed of Godly love everywhere you can as you walk through this day.

Amen.

Rare and Precious

NOW THE boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision. – 1 Samuel 3:1 AMP
http://bible.com/8/1sa.3.1.AMP

Just like in the days of Samuel,  the Word of the Lord today is “rare” and “precious” – and there is no frequent or widely spread vision. Someone might read this and say,  “but I see religious things posted all over Facebook, and there is a church on every street corner these days, how can you say it is rare?”

That question just goes to prove my point, because there is a valuable difference between the veiled or dead relationship most of the world has when it comes to the Bible – versus the life that it generates in a follower of Christ as the revealed Word of the Lord, as the vision, message, and purpose for our lives that we’ve accepted to lead and guide us. And this unveiling off His Word is for every person that accepts Christ, not just for educated or religious people.

What I’m telling you is that the revealed Word of God is bigger than our preconceived notions about a book written with ink on paper by the hands of mere mortal men. The Word of God is breathed out and inspired and it will breathe abundant life and understanding into the lives of His children, because they will recognize and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, because it has been His same voice since the beginning.

Let’s get back to Hannah’s boy Samuel and be ministered to by his example –

Samuel wasn’t one of the sons of Eli that inherited a position as a priest, as a religious teacher. In fact, it’s the contrast of the darkness and rebellion of these hypocritical “teachers of the law” – that revealed this boy Samuel’s ministering as rare and precious. And it was because he had the vision to share the Word of the Lord, while the others just spoke of religious things. While the sons of Eli, the hereditary protests, were plunging the nation into debauchery, and making men turn away from the Tabernacle services – Hannah’s son, Samuel, was ministering unto the Lord, and even though he was no priest of Israel,  he was clearly a priest in the order of Melchezidek.

And isn’t this true of the overwhelming number of false teachers today that lead people into debauchery and lasciviousness while they print fake heaven tickets, sold for a practiced prayer and a payment plan? Aren’t these the same that are eager to speak of kingdoms and favor and honor while denying the righteousness that comes from a holy spirit of power,  love and self-control?

How rare it is today to find a Samuel. How precious it is to find someone with the vision and complete surrender to the Word of God in their life, not just in their hypocritical words.

One commentator explained Samuel as a white flower growing on top of a dunghill. I think this is a fairly accurate description of those faithful servants today who stand firmly upon the foundation and hold the Word of God as precious, rare, and more valuable than the corrupted, rebellious, and twisted opinions of men.

So we can see the contrast and identify both the value of a teacher like Samuel and the danger of teachers like the sons of Eli. But we can also see a comparison between the types of Christian “walks”. We can see a contrast between the Samuel type of faithful follower since birth growing and serving the Lord through – and the Paul type of apostle that was redeemed from being a persecutor of the church. In fact,  Timothy of the New Testament is more of the Samuel type even as he was a student of Paul.

And if we know that we are the Paul type of follower of Christ,  don’t we want our children to be the type of Samuel and Timothy who remain close and faithful to the Lord throughout their whole lives? We are grateful for the sheer quantity of sin forgiven from our lives, and the drastic change in our lives is a great assurance to ourselves and is great testimony to the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But even through we know this life experience of a wasted youth saved by the arresting mercy of Goods grace is what makes us more earnest, humble, and whole-heartedly surrendered – we also recognize the serenity and continuity of a life grown up in the fear of God that has its own charm and blessing.

So it is my hope as a Paul type that my daughter will be a Samuel or Timothy type. McLaren comments on this passage –

“It is well to have ‘much transgression’ forgiven, but it may be better to have always been ‘innocent’ and ignorant of it. Pardon cleanses sin, and even turns the memory of it into an ally of holiness; but traces are left on character, and, at the best, years have been squandered which do not return. Samuel is the pattern of child religion and service, to which teachers should aim that their children may be conformed.”

You see,  I’ve walked that dusty road of an enemy of God changed by the blinding light at the Damascus road – and that life is not what I hope might be modeled and copied. In fact, it is the danger of that old life and the waste and ruin that it produced for a time that should cry out from the mountaintops that His way is better. I do not envy the Samuel way,  because I have died to that old life and now I walk as a new creation so that others might see my life’s testimony and choose a smarter path.

You see,  there is great value in the rare life surrendered and faithful to the Word of God. And it is so precious, that when we grasp hold off it,  when we become unveiled to its truth, we might even realize that the blessing can be given to our children as the double portion of a life like a Samuel, Timothy,  or Elisha. And I’m not just talking about our children by birth,  but doesn’t Christ bid us to go out and feed His sheep? Aren’t we each royal priests and ambassadors taking this Good News out to His children? How many might see the rate and precious life of a Samuel instead of a Paul if we were just faithful and spiritually mature and teaching them off His ways?

So are you a Paul or a Samuel?

Will the children of God you influence be satisfied being a Paul or will they know the rare and precious life of a Samuel by following the example of your life today?

Or there is one other option,  that you are neither a Paul or a Samuel – still a slave to your sin,  still lost in the darkness,  not yet a Paul or Samuel at all, not even unveiled or aware of the destruction that you have chosen for yourself.

Regardless of where you were up to this moment, choose to fill your life with more of this rare and precious Word of the Lord today. Let it breathe more abundant life into your heart. Decide to drink of this living water that Jesus Christ offers you freely and openly. Have your eyes opened to the living Word of God. Stand and walk upright,  friend.

NOW THE boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision. – 1 Samuel 3:1 AMP
http://bible.com/8/1sa.3.1.AMP

Just like in the days of Samuel,  the Word of the Lord today is “rare” and “precious” – and there is no frequent or widely spread vision. Someone might read this and say,  “but I see religious things posted all over Facebook, and there is a church on every street corner these days, how can you say it is rare?”

That question just goes to prove my point, because there is a valuable difference between the veiled or dead relationship most of the world has when it comes to the Bible – versus the life that it generates in a follower of Christ as the revealed Word of the Lord, as the vision, message, and purpose for our lives that we’ve accepted to lead and guide us. And this unveiling off His Word is for every person that accepts Christ, not just for educated or religious people.

What I’m telling you is that the revealed Word of God is bigger than our preconceived notions about a book written with ink on paper by the hands of mere mortal men. The Word of God is breathed out and inspired and it will breathe abundant life and understanding into the lives of His children, because they will recognize and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, because it has been His same voice since the beginning.

Let’s get back to Hannah’s boy Samuel and be ministered to by his example –

Samuel wasn’t one of the sons of Eli that inherited a position as a priest, as a religious teacher. In fact, it’s the contrast of the darkness and rebellion of these hypocritical “teachers of the law” – that revealed this boy Samuel’s ministering as rare and precious. And it was because he had the vision to share the Word of the Lord, while the others just spoke of religious things. While the sons of Eli, the hereditary protests, were plunging the nation into debauchery, and making men turn away from the Tabernacle services – Hannah’s son, Samuel, was ministering unto the Lord, and even though he was no priest of Israel,  he was clearly a priest in the order of Melchezidek.

And isn’t this true of the overwhelming number of false teachers today that lead people into debauchery and lasciviousness while they print fake heaven tickets, sold for a practiced prayer and a payment plan? Aren’t these the same that are eager to speak of kingdoms and favor and honor while denying the righteousness that comes from a holy spirit of power,  love and self-control?

How rare it is today to find a Samuel. How precious it is to find someone with the vision and complete surrender to the Word of God in their life, not just in their hypocritical words.

One commentator explained Samuel as a white flower growing on top of a dunghill. I think this is a fairly accurate description of those faithful servants today who stand firmly upon the foundation and hold the Word of God as precious, rare, and more valuable than the corrupted, rebellious, and twisted opinions of men.

So we can see the contrast and identify both the value of a teacher like Samuel and the danger of teachers like the sons of Eli. But we can also see a comparison between the types of Christian “walks”. We can see a contrast between the Samuel type of faithful follower since birth growing and serving the Lord through – and the Paul type of apostle that was redeemed from being a persecutor of the church. In fact,  Timothy of the New Testament is more of the Samuel type even as he was a student of Paul.

And if we know that we are the Paul type of follower of Christ,  don’t we want our children to be the type of Samuel and Timothy who remain close and faithful to the Lord throughout their whole lives? We are grateful for the sheer quantity of sin forgiven from our lives, and the drastic change in our lives is a great assurance to ourselves and is great testimony to the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But even through we know this life experience of a wasted youth saved by the arresting mercy of Goods grace is what makes us more earnest, humble, and whole-heartedly surrendered – we also recognize the serenity and continuity of a life grown up in the fear of God that has its own charm and blessing.

So it is my hope as a Paul type that my daughter will be a Samuel or Timothy type. McLaren comments on this passage –

“It is well to have ‘much transgression’ forgiven, but it may be better to have always been ‘innocent’ and ignorant of it. Pardon cleanses sin, and even turns the memory of it into an ally of holiness; but traces are left on character, and, at the best, years have been squandered which do not return. Samuel is the pattern of child religion and service, to which teachers should aim that their children may be conformed.”

You see,  I’ve walked that dusty road of an enemy of God changed by the blinding light at the Damascus road – and that life is not what I hope might be modeled and copied. In fact, it is the danger of that old life and the waste and ruin that it produced for a time that should cry out from the mountaintops that His way is better. I do not envy the Samuel way,  because I have died to that old life and now I walk as a new creation so that others might see my life’s testimony and choose a smarter path.

You see,  there is great value in the rare life surrendered and faithful to the Word of God. And it is so precious, that when we grasp hold off it,  when we become unveiled to its truth, we might even realize that the blessing can be given to our children as the double portion of a life like a Samuel, Timothy,  or Elisha. And I’m not just talking about our children by birth,  but doesn’t Christ bid us to go out and feed His sheep? Aren’t we each royal priests and ambassadors taking this Good News out to His children? How many might see the rate and precious life of a Samuel instead of a Paul if we were just faithful and spiritually mature and teaching them off His ways?

So are you a Paul or a Samuel?

Will the children of God you influence be satisfied being a Paul or will they know the rare and precious life of a Samuel by following the example of your life today?

Or there is one other option,  that you are neither a Paul or a Samuel – still a slave to your sin,  still lost in the darkness,  not yet a Paul or Samuel at all, not even unveiled or aware of the destruction that you have chosen for yourself.

Regardless of where you were up to this moment, choose to fill your life with more of this rare and precious Word of the Lord today. Let it breathe more abundant life into your heart. Decide to drink of this living water that Jesus Christ offers you freely and openly. Have your eyes opened to the living Word of God. Stand and walk upright,  friend.