May 31st -- Dry Spells

"Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.” For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days." Hosea 3:1-5

FNF is back!

We will meet tomorrow night at Birmingham 1st SDA @ 7pm.
The address is 3520 Lorna Road, Birmingham, AL 35226

We'll have a breakfast supper-- I'm thinking healthy pancakes, maple syrup, scrambled tofu and fruit and veggie meat & OJ. That sounds amazing, right?

Let's make it happen! Please help me by bringing fruit for a fruit salad (strawberries, grapes, apples, mangoes, kiwi, etc) and by bringing juice/ almond milk and veggie sausage. I'm going to aim to get there by 6:20 or so to start making the pancakes & tofu and could definitely use help if you want to come early:)

My friend had to back out on leading out so since I'm doing the study, we'll most likely study something OT.

Looking forward to seeing all of you! Hope you have a productive yet easy Friday! God Bless!

(In case it's wrong, I totally made up that zip code:)

Here's a little devotional to go along with the verse above. It's good so read all of it when you have time.

"Several years ago, at a women’s retreat where the theme was “Experiencing the Joy!” I remember telling them that “real joy is knowing the depth of your sin and the extent of your idolatry.” Until you believe with your whole being that, given the right set of circumstances, you are capable of committing any sin, and until you know that apart from Christ there is nothing that’s naturally good in you, then you will never know real joy.

Real joy is knowing how bad I am and then comparing it to how much I have been forgiven. Jesus said it himself: Those who have been forgiven much, love much. Their gratitude spills over, and they find themselves crazy in love with God, falling at his feet, worshiping with abandon. They find themselves loving others extravagantly and forgiving others from the heart. For not only do those who have been forgiven much love much, but they forgive much too (see Luke 7:41–48). As the Bible instructs, we are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Although some sins are more heinous than others—murder is more detrimental to society than entertaining lustful thoughts or stealing a packet of Sweet ‘N Low—all sin is grievous to God. All sin separates us from him. All sin is serious . . .

Whenever my heart starts to grow cold, when I take comfort in being “not so bad” and seek satisfaction in feeling superior to others, all I need is to look at the cross of Christ. Then, once I see clearly that it was me who put Jesus there, I remember his words to another sinful woman: “Your sins are forgiven . . . Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50).
—Nancy Kennedy


Tancy said...

Notes for FNF tonight: (Not going to have time to make copies).
FNF … 5/31/13
The Waiting Game
Revelation 3:7-8
God knows how to open and shut doors. If God opens a door, no man can shut it. And if God shuts a door, no man has the power to open it.
How can we know that God is in control of the doors? What if you think you’ve made a right decision, but the door seems to close in your way-- could it be the devil trying to discourage you? Does the devil have any control over the doors?
In order to trust God with the doors, we have to first seek His will. To trust anyone requires an ongoing personal relationship. Only by developing that relationship day by day, can we know His will on a given decision. The greatest safeguard against being led astray by any of the devices of the enemy is to know God for yourself, so that you can distinguish His voice from the voice of a stranger.
But does God always cause the doors to open spontaneously and immediately when we are following His voice? Are we guaranteed that everything will quickly “fall into place” when we have understood His guidance correctly? Do the doors ever appear to close for a time, but open in the end, at the direction of God Himself?
To our human understanding, it seems like the doors ought to open right away, unless we have missed our signals but if we are going to be faithful to the Bible record, we discover that doors can be very tricky and stubborn things. There is no more safety in depending solely upon the opening and closing doors than there is in going by your own feelings or in depending upon what your family or friends tell you is the right decision. The Bible precedent is that there may be times when God’s will is for you to go forward, even though for a time He makes it appear impossible for you to do so!
Let’s consider several Bible biographies as we try to understand this principle—perhaps the hardest principle to understand in all of Christian living—the waiting principle.
Adam is at the head of the line! After being found by God there in the Garden, hiding among the fig leaves, e was given a promise. The Messiah was going to come. Through the coming Savior, forgiveness for his sin would be possible, and restoration to the lost Eden would be assured. When his first child was born, Adam was sure this must be the promised Son. If Cain wasn’t the One, then surely Abel, who lingered at the altar morning and evening and seemed so sensitive to spiritual things. But Cain turned out to be a murderer—and Abel was his victim. Adam then pinned his hopes on Seth, and perhaps upon every succeeding son and grandson and great grandson, until the end of his life. The promise had been given, God’s will was clear. But Adam had to wait.
Noah had problems with the opening and closing doors! He thought he understood the guidance of God in beginning construction on an ark. For 120 years he hammered and preached and waited. Many who were convicted by his startling message at the beginning of the 120 years had stopped being convicted by the time more than a century had passed by. They were sure that Noah had missed his signals completely. During that time, Noah surely had opportunity to go back and reconsider the events that had led him to believe that God had directed him in the building of this boat. 120 years is a long time! And as if that were not enough, even after the animals had gathered from field and forest and Noah and his family had boarded the boat, they still had to wait awhile longer. God shut the door—and no man could open it! But it was still another seven days before the rain began. Then it rained for forty days and nights—followed by more than a year of waiting for the flood waters to dry up and the door to open, so they could escape from the boat that had been both a haven and a prison! Noah certainly knew what it meant to wait.

Tancy said...

Abraham waited. 25 years passed from the time he was first given the promise of a son. He tried to help God out by offering to take his servant as an heir, and then by his marriage to Hagar, but all of his efforts to find a shortcut were of no avail. They only caused problems in the end. Abraham had not misunderstood God’s will. He had only misunderstood God’s timetable.
Jacob was promised the birthright and he, too, tried to hurry things along by helping God out. He hadn’t been wrong in deciding that it was God’s will for him to have the birthright, but he certainly wasn’t prepared for the more than 30 years he had to wait before the promise was fulfilled.
Moses recognized the hand of God in his life when he was given the assignment of leading the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. It didn’t seem to him that the doors were opening quickly enough, and so he tried to hurry things along. Then it looked like the door was closed completely for 40 years while he lived in the desert and herded his father-in-law’s sheep. But there came a day when he reached the burning bush, and once again it seemed the doors were opening before him.
After arguing the matter at some length, Moses finally submitted to the plan of God for his life and went down to Egypt. But even then, his expectations were seldom met. He had hardly arrived in Egypt before Pharaoh received word of his mission and began to put the pressure on. The people came and complained to Moses—and Moses went to the Lord with a plaintive and almost funny prayer. You can read it in Exodus 5:23, where he said, “Since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.”
Moses struggled with the doors. The people of Israel struggled with the doors. After every plague that came, it looked like the doors were opening—but soon after deliverance, the doors slammed shut again. After the last plague and the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt, the doors seemed to open—but a few days later on the banks of the Red Sea, the doors seemed to shut. Then they opened again, as the people walked across the dry land!
It took only a couple of years to reach the borders of the Promised Land the first time, but then the people shut the doors in their own faces and had to wait 38 years before the doors could open again. It makes you weary just reading about it!
What about Joseph? He had dreams. Were the dreams from God? Absolutely! Did they come true? They certainly did. But there were a few complications along the way—like exile and slavery and imprisonment and more than 20 years of waiting for the doors to finally open. But when the doors opened, they opened wide.
David was brought in from herding sheep in the mountains and fields. He was anointed King of Israel, much to his surprise and the surprise of his family. But it took many years for him to actually reach the throne—and for the entire time he seemed to be getting progressively further away from ever realizing the fulfillment of the promises he had been given. There were a lot of closed doors for David.
Do you find it depressing to look over the list of people who had to wait, sometimes years, for the doors to open? Or do you find it reassuring as you try to come to terms with the unfinished business in your own life? Whatever feelings you may have, as you consider those who have waited for the doors to open, you have to admit that it happens so often as to be almost the rule rather than the exception!
Hebrews 11:39 makes record of those who died never having received the things promised, having only see them from afar—yet they still died in the faith. They followed the guidance of God in their lives, as far as they were able to follow, but the doors only opened so far, and the end of their lives found them still waiting.

Tancy said...

There may be times when you have followed through the steps for knowing God’s will in your life and have missed your signals. When that happens, most often the mistake was made on the first step. Most often we fail in coming to the place of having no will of our own on the given mater. But there may be other times when you have followed through the steps, and have made a right decision, but you still have to wait for the doors to open. It’s frustrating. It’s scary. It’s exciting. And it’s also par for the course in the Christian life.
Why are there delays? Why is it that we so often must wait and wait and wait? It’s because God, in all the guidance that He offers to His children, has more at stake than the immediate crisis or decision. He has our character development to consider. He sees the whole pattern of our lives for Him, not just the one isolated choice. And He has the plans and purposes that He is working for the entire universe at stake in the lives of His people.
We often come to Him seeking some blessing, and if He responds by answering our prayers with the blessing we request, we are content and conclude that our faith in Him is great. But the real test of our faith comes when there is a delay. What happens then? Do we give up, concluding that whatever we were seeking at His hand is not worth waiting for? Do we give up our relationship with Him when He does not meet our expectations? Or do we continue to seek Him, regardless of where He leads or how He leads or when He leads?
One reason why the doors open slowly is that God has something better for us. He not only wants to give us the guidance and blessing that we seek, but He wants to help us to grow as well, to develop a greater trust in Him and in His wisdom and power.
When God puts you “on hold,” do you hang up? Or do you hang on? Are you willing to wait as long as is necessary—even if your waiting overlaps into eternity—rather than go outside of His will for you? Does it seem that you have been waiting a long time for some of the doors in your life to open and let you through? Don’t look on the waiting time as time that is lost. The waiting itself is all part of the process by which God works to guide you, to perfect you, and to prepare you for the work He has assigned you.
We’ve spent a lot of time considering the doors that open slowly—but there’s good news! Sometimes the doors open right away! That’s an easier truth to accept, isn’t it? And it is also the truth, just as it is true that often the doors do not open immediately.
Elijah didn’t have to wait for the fire to come down from heaven when he prayed on Mount Carmel. It fell from heaven right then. David didn’t have to wait for help with his slingshot when Goliath came to meet him. Daniel didn’t have to wait for deliverance from the mouths of the lions, and his 3 friends didn’t have to wait for God to cool the fires of the furnace in their behalf.
Acts 16:6-10say: “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Hold Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

Tancy said...

Within a very short time, Paul was met with a closed door to Asia, a closed door to Bithynia, and then a wide open door to Macedonia. He didn’t have to wait 120 years or 40 or 7. The guidance for his work came right away, just when it was needed.
As you seek the will of God in your life, there will be times of both: times when you will have to wait, and times when the answer will come overnight. And we can be thankful for both, for both open and closed doors are part of God’s method for giving us His guidance in our lives. We can gain many insights into God’s will in our lives by watching the swinging doors.
We can afford to make a lot of mistakes when it comes to decision making, which is good news, because many of us have made a lot of mistakes! There is, however, one mistake we cannot afford to make, and that is to stop praying and seeking to know God for ourselves, that we may be in such a close relationship with Him that we will recognize His guidance. As we continue to come to Him, He has given us the promise of communicating to us, not only His will for our lives, but the knowledge of Himself, whom to know is life eternal.
Taken from Morris Venden’s How to Know God’s Will in Your Life.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 … So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.