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THIS IS YOUR TIME: GREENER PASTURES ARE CALLING

green grass field under white clouds

 

The Lord needs you to step up. It is time to make a move into greater spiritual maturity and quit being overly dependent on the Christian means and methods of yesterday.

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THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN

Churches are shutting down and forcing the use of other ministry options, such as live streaming on various internet platforms. Even those who were reluctant to make such a drastic change, though ostensibly temporary, have faced the facts of these strange days and complied with the overall transition taking place all across the country.

I will reiterate here that the threat is real but on a much lower level than advertised. There are any number of supposed threats at present that can be ginned up and harped on to drive a panic. It is all in the application. The means to drive a narrative have been here for decades and, of course, have been used repeatedly. What you as a Christian must do is discern the difference between legitimate threats and those which are merely hyped to become much more than what they are. If you are used to always obeying authority figures and never questioning them, then this post is not for you unless you may be willing to see things at least a tad bit differently.

Christians often forget that they are supposed to be serving a Lord who can do anything anytime in any circumstance, in that there truly is nothing impossible with God. In that regard He does not merely suggest living by faith, that is, stepping out of familiar comfort zones and entering a realm of miraculous possibility—He demands it. One cannot be a real Christian otherwise. A large part of a Christian’s means of operation must involve the unfamiliar and the unknown, which requires a close walk and willingness to operate far outside the box of conventionality.

There are some I am speaking to here directly. You have had this very sentiment on your heart for a while now. You are wanting to get it right. You are not as comfortable as you would like to be in going forward but you know you must. From personal experience, let me tell you—there are times when you never reach a fully “comfortable” feeling in making such a move. You feel something like a pressure but it is not really that, but more of a personalized directing into something different. You don’t have the full picture but you know you must act. You are not sure how because you don’t have all the facts. Guess what? You will likely never have all the facts. All you know is that you are being somewhat strongly led in a new direction. There is something out there you must do. There is a move to make. It is actually somewhat exciting but such is contained due to a reluctance to leave familiar surroundings. Sometimes it is geographic but it doesn’t have to be.

Many Christians refuse to obey when such a time comes. They would rather stick with sure security and not take a chance on a possible wrong move or upset a current lifestyle. This is not a bad move to make at first. It is the prudent thing to do. If the Lord has us where He wants us then we must be very careful to fend off any “calls” to a new thing somewhere else which has much more to do with one’s own personal desires or those of another, and usually entail running from God or away from Him. We must always test these things. There are times when it seems the Lord is calling us elsewhere or upward but time will tell if it is really Him or not. If it is not Him, whatever initial leadings we may feel will never get to the point beyond mere consideration. But if it is Him it will not stop. The directing will grow stronger. In these cases the Lord is telling us that the fruitful fields of the future are elsewhere, whether geographic or not, and that current fruitfulness is lessening and will continue to slide.

It could be that the Lord is driving both, in that He will no longer bless a current effort because He wants you to have greater fruitfulness and it can only come if you make a move. I will caution whoever may be reading this, however, that it must be by His direction and you will have to be close enough to Him to hear His voice and be sufficiently inclined to His guidance.

There is a surplus of examples in Scripture. Someone was going about his life as always when the Lord, somewhat suddenly, spoke and began preparing him for a move. There will always be a time of preparation. The Lord will initially speak, often with plenty of time beforehand (but this is according to His reckoning and not our own) and it is up to us to hear. After getting the message we must do the next thing which is to obey. We begin preparing. The Lord continues to speak to our spirit in stronger tones. We keep checking to make sure it’s Him. He will bring spiritual verification during the entire time. Things begin working toward the goal. The old begins to fade. He won’t bless it anymore. The new begins coming into greater focus. The blessing is in the transition but will soon be fully in the new. The new becomes more exciting. We reach a point when we want to do it and it cannot come fast enough but we must still be patient. He always does things the right way with no ups and downs or zig-zags.

It’s okay to make a few incorrect moves because He can fix that, but we must stay in touch. What He can’t fix, however, is willful intransigence and disobedience. This borders on outright rebellion. I have no idea how many Christians make these moves the right way or how many refuse to move altogether. But I know a real Christian is bought with a great price. We do not belong to ourselves but to Him. Each of us cost Him His own shed blood. That being said, we know He always treats us well and it is good to “try the spirits” to make sure what we are feeling or hearing is the Lord. He expects us to do that, of course. There comes a time, though, when we cannot allow conventionality, common sense, social pressure, or other elements to hold us back from the greater life the Lord wants to give us. And it is not primarily for our personal blessing but to be of greater use to Him and for others.

It will involve personal blessing, however. And it will involve all the joy of leaving a not so great but okay place in which fruitfulness is harder to come by though we remain in good standing with Him, into a new place filled with fresh new possibilities, opportunities, wonderful people, and increased spiritual fruitfulness. If this resonates with you, make absolutely sure it is the Lord and His direction. You will have to be mature enough to make the final decision and not depend on another to make it for you.

One thing all of us know, or should know, is that we are in the midst of a great change. Forces of evil are pushing a sinister narrative. The world is changing drastically as you read this. But again, the Lord is not surprised. He remains fully in charge. Our destiny with Him remains on course. New challenges may be throwing a wrench in the works somewhat, but His strength, guidance, and anointing will keep us secure and at peace as our mind is stayed on Him.

For some of you, now is time to move on to the greener pastures.

Vaya Con Dios.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


NOTE: My friend Beverley at Becoming the Oil and the Wine, nominated this site for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Please visit and congratulate Beverley on her nomination and also for her site’s sixth anniversary. Thank you and Be Blessed.

He Steadfastly Set His Face To Go To Jerusalem

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         There are times in our lives when we have to make tough decisions.

         We must decide to obey God.

         I remember hearing a relatively well known preacher several years ago make a statement regarding such tough decisions. In all honesty he said, “I’ve rebuked the Holy Ghost so many times…”

         What he meant, of course, is that there was no way what he was hearing was from God. It was too hard. Too difficult. Impossible, even. No way could it be God. He would never ask (command) me to do such a thing.

         But, of course,  it actually WAS the voice of God…

         Not only does the Lord have “hard sayings,” He also has very hard things for us to do at times. And this portends the theme of this article, that God, in all His grace and love, commands us to do impossible things that put our lives in peril and sometimes destroy our comfort zones.

         A lazy, lolling river suddenly becomes fast and filled with white water and giant boulders. But instead of simply getting over to the bank ASAP, the Lord directs us to enter headlong into the churning, violent rapids and commands us to ride the wave of the future.

         Right.

         These are some of the stepping off points in one’s walk with God. How many Christians are there in this world who are no longer real Christians because they refused such commands? How many are merely playing games, fooling themselves and almost everyone else in an attempt to live for God in disobedience?

         It can’t happen, you know. Would that you were hot or cold…

         You get the picture. Refusing God’s commands while claiming to be right makes one a veritable dab of spit at best and pool of vomit at worst.

         Yes, the Word of God actually says that. As Yogi Berra would say, “You could look it up.”

         The title of this post illustrates such tough obedient choices. The Lord knew all along He would make that fateful trip to Jerusalem one day and enter into the mouth of the dragon. He would drop His defenses, lose all protection, and become the object of not only the wrath of mankind, but the wrath of God.

         But how is that possible? Jesus IS God.

         And again, that’s the point. The strong must support the weak. The strong must do very difficult things on behalf of the weak. The strong must carry the day.

         Now, in English, the phrase Set His Face To Go makes no sense. We think it makes sense but only because we have discovered what it means. This phrase is an obvious example of a Hebrew idiom that found its way into the literal translation. It comes to us from the KJV translators and is over 400 years old. However, it is based on the earlier English translation of William Tyndale which is going on 500 years old. I do not think those people had any clear understanding of Hebrew idioms. Later translations give a clearer understanding in English. The following is from the NASV:

         He was determined to go to Jerusalem… [1] 

         Young’s Literal Translation states, that he fixed his face to go on to Jerusalem.

         The Hebrew idiom, from an original Hebrew Gospel, means that the Lord Jesus could not possibly be swayed from facing His fate. He was resolutely determined to complete His mission. He set His face like a flinty rock to enter the belly of the beast. This was not only sheer determination and willpower to do the job He was called to do; it was also the determination to face the greatest physical, emotional, and mental torture ever suffered by anyone in taking on the massive burden of our sins, and actually become sin on our behalf.

         He had every reason, in the natural, to reject such a trip. How could it be God’s will for me to face such a horrible fate? Anyone else would have found a way out, and would have justified his disobedient behavior.

         But not the Lord Jesus.

         He wasn’t thinking of Himself.

         He was thinking of you.

         So, we must set our minds at ease in that whatever difficult circumstances He is commanding us to undertake, He will never ask us to go to the cross the way He went to the cross.

         But we must go to the cross. We must be crucified. We must destroy our sinful and selfish human nature through real repentance and allow His life to course through our born again veins and arteries, and allow our hearts of stone to be transformed into living hearts of spiritual love and mercy.

         He made it relatively easy for us, you know. There is a place in each of us reserved for His Holy Living Spirit. The key to being like Christ, therefore, is not to engage in some ascetic attempt to be “holy” and Christlike through our own power and religious methods, but to unlock the door of our hearts, open the door wide, greet the Lord who waits patiently on our doorstep with a gracious smile and a loving hug, invite Him in, and give Him the best room in the house.

         Whatever price we must pay to get us to the point of accepting such a visitation is worth it, don’t you think? And so is anything else He asks us to do, no matter how scary or difficult.

         We must all Set Our Face to do the will of God. We must go to our own version of Jerusalem. We must swim across the ocean and ford every stream and climb every mountain (including Everest) and dream the impossible dream.

         We must sacrifice our lives in the greatest act of giving for the sake of His abundant life.

         It’s what people do when they’re in love.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.