Miscellaneous Thought – 30 April 2017

 

Miscellaneous Thought

Is God real to you? Is He a vital presence in your life, or just some abstract concept that makes no difference? Are you applying the vital scriptural tools that can draw you closer to Him?

In a world starved of truth, are you feeding on Christ daily?

Normally – as most of you readers know – I do not get into any direct religious appeal or “sermonizing” in these papers.  For in this Work I simply hope to “tell it like it is” – to present to  you the real facts and let you make any decision about what kind of action you should take. But, whatever I write, I try to help all readers  understand certain aspects of life or prophetic events personally affecting them.

So, in these days, because prophetic events seem to be speeding up, and the “pride of power” of the British-descended and American people really  is being “broken” in an obvious way,

Leviticus 26:19; 19And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:”   

….it comes to me that I am responsible to put before you at least the very basic things you must do to survive the soon-coming trials and tests. For Jesus Christ stated regarding the coming Great Tribulation:

Mark 13:19; 19For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” 

No! You do not need to rush out and “join a church” to be saved!

But your very Creator says over and over in His inspired word that at such a time as this, anyone who truly wants the help, the guidance and the divine protection of Almighty God must, at the very least, begin to sincerely “seek God,” cry out to God and sincerely and earnestly let Him know that you do want the help and guidance of the One who gives you life and breath! Is that too much to ask?

Exodus 22:23; 23If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;” 

KEEP HIS TESTIMONIES

When instructing the Israelites about what to do as they returned from their Babylonian captivity, God stated:

Jeremiah 29:10–14; 10For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.  11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  12Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  14And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”  

God inspired King David to declare:

Psalm 119:2; 2    Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” 

Please notice that last phrase: “with the whole heart.” Many professing Christians half-heartedly seek God. They do a little Bible study, have an occasional prayer session with God and “hope” that that might be enough to give them some special guidance.

However, when Daniel – one of the greatest prophets of all time – was struck with the realization of the special time in which he was living, he sought God with all his heart:

Daniel 9:3–5; 3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;  5We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” 

So Daniel “set his face” to seek God for His guidance and His mercy. And God greatly honored this. For God sent a mighty angel to instruct and encourage Daniel. The angel said:

Daniel 10:11–13; 11And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.  12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” 

SPIRIT WAR

Daniel was made to realize that there was a “spirit war” being waged between God’s faithful angels and the demonic spirits – the “fallen angels” who influenced and guided the pagan nations around Israel. But God encouraged Daniel and let him know that “from the first day” that Daniel began to truly “seek” God through fervent prayer, fasting and confessing his sins, God heard. And now Daniel was given real understanding of the tumultuous events beginning to take place all around him. He was used by God to warn his people. He was powerfully used by God to give us, today, some of the most specific and powerful prophecies in the entire Bible!

Will you join Daniel and many other great servants of the true God in genuinely “seeking” your Creator and His will for your life?

HOW TO “SEEK GOD

As the above examples clearly show, Almighty God honors those who seek Him with all their hearts.

Jeremiah 29:13; 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”   

He honors those who seek Him through fervent prayerfasting and repentance.

Daniel 9:3–4; 3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;”  

Another vital “key” for us today is the extreme importance of genuine Bible study. For those ancient prophets whom we have cited in the above examples were often in close contact with God in a personal way and genuinely “knew” Him in a way very few today do. In our era, most people have never really known the true God. For Satan the Devil has truly “deceived the whole world”.

Revelation 12:9; 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  

He has been allowed to “blind” most of the world to the will of the true God.

2 Corinthians 4:3–4; 3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”   

Therefore, since we are in this situation today, we must get real. You and I need to genuinely “study” the word of God. For it is the inspired revelation from our Creator. It reveals how God thinks, how He is, and what He will do in various situations. Without this understanding, it is difficult for us to fervently “seek” the true God in the way the ancient prophets did. For most human beings are truly “cut off” from God. They have only known a false God, a false Christ and a false gospel.

2 Corinthians 11:3–4; 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Please notice what Jesus Christ Himself said:

John 6:56–57; 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”   

He then went on to say:

John 6:63; 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”   

So God’s inspired word – the Holy Bible – helps us understand God’s will, and gives us life eternal in God’s Kingdom, if we will obey it.

“FEED” ON CHRIST

That is why Jesus indicated that we should “feed” on Him and genuinely study His words which “are spirit and they are life.”

So I urge all of you to “blow the dust off your Bibles,” and begin to actually study the Bible in a way, perhaps, you have probably never done before. One good plan would be to start out reading through the entire New Testament from the beginning. Start with the book of Matthew, and see how Jesus Christ in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5–7) “exalted” God’s law –

Isaiah 42:21; 21The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.”   

– or “magnified” it – by explaining how human beings are to live. As you genuinely  study through Matthew, you will begin to understand “the mind of God” as set forth directly by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Learn to slowly and carefully read two or three chapters, at least, in each of your times of study. Mark the key passages that are of most importance, and then go back and review them at the end of your study. Then review, in your next study session, the three chapters you have gone over before by noting quickly the key areas you have marked, then proceed through the next three or four chapters and think about what you are reading – asking God for genuine understanding.

TRUE CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

It is also vital to learn the importance of Christian meditation. This is not simply “emptying your mind” as some of the eastern religions proclaim. It is, rather, the focusing of your mind on a single theme – turning it over and over in your mind to gain understanding. So your theme should be trying to truly understand what God is saying through His inspired word. You should, therefore, take time after each study period and perhaps again later in the day to carefully meditate on what you have read, asking God over and over to give you genuine  understandingknowledge and the  willingness to do His will as revealed in His inspired word.

Then, after you have studied and meditated, you will have far more understanding of how to pray and of the nature of the real God to whom you are praying. Read the examples of Christ’s prayers, and how He prayed to God – and of how the Prophet Daniel prayed to God, and of how King David prayed to God – and read the inspiring examples throughout the entire book of Psalms. As you follow their example, you will be able to “pour out your heart” to your Creator in a meaningful way – and in a way He will hear and answer.

Learn to start each day with prayer before you leave your home. For going out of the door in the morning without praying is almost like going out “naked.” For you are – in a sense – spiritually naked if you leave your home and have not prayed to the Creator for His help, His guidance, His protection, His leading. Please think about it that way!

Learn to talk to God fervently for, as I have indicated before, God does not appreciate “half-hearted” prayers. Remember the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 5:7;7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;”   

Jesus set us the supreme example of how we ought to genuinely “seek God” with all our hearts!

Along with genuine study of the Bible on a regular basis, regular meditation, and fervent prayer each morning and throughout the day, another vital key in seeking God is the practice of fasting. Throughout the Bible, we find that God’s true servants would abstain from both food and water for at least a day or two when faced with a genuine crisis.

USE THE “TOOL” OF FASTING

Note how Moses, the “man of God,” sought God and explained that when he went up to Him to receive the Ten Commandments:

Deuteronomy 9:9; 9When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:” 

One of the greatest “women of God” revealed in the Bible, Queen Esther, instructed her Uncle Mordecai at a time when the Persian King was set to destroy the Jews:

Esther 4:16; 16Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” 

Therefore, no doubt hundreds or even thousands of her fellow Jews began fervently fasting and seeking God on behalf of their people and of Queen Esther. The whole situation was then turned around in a remarkable way! Read the “rest of the story” in the book of Esther!

When the Apostle Paul was struck down and blinded when he was on the way to Damascus to persecute the Christians, he knew what to do. For the Bible reveals that, as he began to repent and seek God:

Acts 9:9; 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”  

So this man who became one of the greatest apostles of all time began to “seek God” by fasting, cutting himself off from food and water for a period of time in order to humble himself, in order to focus his entire being on God and His will through prayer and fasting.

Also, it is good to remember that – especially in our modern time of so many physical weaknesses and ailments – it is wise to be careful in fasting more than one day. Jesus Christ could fast for 40 days, but we should not just “assume” that we can duplicate His example in this regard. Certainly, if you have any serious medical condition, you should heed the advice of a respected medical professional before going on any kind of “unusual” fast beyond what God commands of His people (e.g. the Day of Atonement).

Nevertheless, fasting is a vital “tool” in genuinely seeking God and trying to draw close to our Creator. As you can see, this tool was used over and over by the true servants of God down through history. Certainly, exercising the “tools” of Bible study, meditation, prayer and fasting is vital.

DOERS OF THE WORD

Beyond all of this, Scripture clearly reveals in many places this principle:

James 1:22; 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”   

Jesus Christ Himself declared:

Luke 6:46; 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”   

So above and beyond simply drinking in of God’s mind and will through using the “tools” outlined above, each of us must learn to be doers of God’s word. We must learn to obey our Creator as Jesus Christ said so many times. And we must so surrender to God that Jesus Christ literally lives within us the same faithful, obedient life that He lived on this earth years ago! As the Apostle Paul was inspired to state:

Galatians 2:20; 20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”   

So we must learn to keep holy the days Christ kept holy. We must live the same pattern of life that He lived. We must literally obey the Ten Commandments as He did – since He will be literally living His life within us through the Holy Spirit.

John 15:10; 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” 

May God help all of us learn to truly “seek” God during the most upsetting, traumatic and difficult years just ahead. Then we will begin to see what we really ought to be doing. Then, God will undoubtedly open our mind to understand His will – if we truly seek Him with all our heart, mind and soul and are willing to actually do what He says in His inspired word. May God help us to take action! As the Apostle Peter was inspired to tell us:

2 Peter 1:10–11; 10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  11For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

About Ephraim J. Stockwell

Ephraim J. Stockwell, Born 30 May 1926 in Howell, Michigan, USA; Grew up on a farm in Uniontown, Pennsylvania; Served in Army during WW2 in European Theater of Operations; College in West Virginia, majoring in Physics and Electronic Engineering; Employed by NASA Headquarters, Wash. D.C. as Head of Network Operations (Retired), Husband of Joan Morgan Stockwell, father of 3 sons; Jack, Mark and Rick; Family includes 17 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.
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