Speaking UP (Things Looking Up part 2)

Misprision

If I know something about someone or some situation and at the very least, neglect to pray to God about it, God has every right to hold me responsible. That problem, that incident, whatever it is you saw was actually God showing you. And in a court of law, things need to be stated by those who know them. Pertinent things that could ensure justice is accurately served. How much more so in the Kingdom of God? The word also refers to dereliction of duty. When someone entrusts to you the performance of tasks that require an exclusive or rare skill set, and you somehow neglect to do them, it goes without saying that…they simply won’t get done. In some places, it’s grounds for dismissal. Others still, it’s punishable with imprisonment. And misprision could simply connote a mistake. Any way you look at it, God will help you do the right thing when the time comes.

And don’t worry, God’s been training you whether you realize it or not. He wastes nothing.

“Take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 13:11b) This is Jesus talking.

“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid (referring to the Pharisees’ accusations against Him); And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus whence art Thou? (where are You from?) But Jesus gave Him no answer.” (John 19:7-8) This is Jesus not talking.

“Fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites” (Isaiah 33:14)

Here’s the thing though. If you have some overarching or underlying notion that you’re called to do something that hasn’t yet been revealed, then keep going. Keep reading, keep studying, keep worshipping. When God sees you’re ready, He’ll unveil you to those you’re intended to influence. And if we’re afraid, could there be, as the above verse identifies, some vestige of hypocrisy in our hearts that is keeping us from manifesting this destiny? Because unless we learn and live the lessons of our own lives, God can’t use us to heal that segment of the Body of Christ, of humanity. He wants to. Use us, that is.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

Think about all the major players in the Old Testament. Each had their mistakes, their foibles and follies and failings. Yet look! Jesus came. He did what He had to do and those who came after got the job done as well. We have a church, a worldwide body of believers comprising the family of God. Even after all of the mistakes and mishaps and mess ups. Really, some horrible stuff has conspired to derail the great plan of God, yet nothing ultimately can. The question is, where do we fit in all of this?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Don’t worry about failing. God’s love and mercy and timing are big enough to encapsulate all our hopes and fears and failings. And if you’ve failed to act or speak when the occasion called for it, know that God has your second chance in His hands. He will give you as many second chances as He gives you the grace to ask for them. This, however, isn’t something to run roughshod over. It should inspire a moment of sobriety and calm. And know that the more we look to and walk with God in worship and praise, the more we’ll find that everything He has for us will come in the everyday, ordinary ways. You’ll achieve that calling yet!

“Being confident of this very thing, that He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

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Listening UP (Things Looking Up part 1)

Maybe someday, we’ll get beyond having to qualify every statement regarding God’s response time by saying how we wanted a response yesterday.

I find it interesting to see certain statements in the Bible that read almost like tautologies. A tautology, by the way (logically speaking), is a statement that is either absolutely, irrevocably and totally true—or false. Statements like 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” What about when Jesus says, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)? Here’s a good one: “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22, emphases mine) Did you catch that? Jesus qualifies the asking and receiving with believing and doubting. So, when we read these and then encounter needs and wants and desires in our lives, we must ask ourselves, do we really want to expend the energy to continue to believe that God’s going to come through with our request? Anything less, is sin. That might sound a little too black-or-white, but “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) Does that apply here?

The tautology comes in to focus when our faith is tested and God is either wrong or not.

It’s almost comical to read and hear some people’s feeble attempts at the proving or disproving of God based on these topics. Something to the effect of “I’m gonna ask God to heal all cancer in the world: “God, please heal all the cancer in the world, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”” They put their hand to their ear. Hearing nothing, they exclaim “See! God’s not real.” Well, first of all, “with His stripes, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Secondly, when Jesus says in John (11:40) “that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God”, emphasis again is placed on belief. Here, I’m speaking to Christians who have admitted their sin and accepted not only God’s existence, but also Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and subsequent resurrection, and if we ask God for something but then intersperse ideas of our own as to why God may not have responded when we wanted Him to, wouldn’t that qualify as doubt?

Doubt is like the little brother of unbelief, which is in turn the opposite of belief.

When we as Christians throw up a prayer to God, and then do anything less than continue to believe, we very well may hamper our miracle, God’s response.

I know this topic has been hammered out and endlessly debated. Many who have deconverted from the faith cite the unreceiving of their miracle as proof of God’s unexistence. Proof that they made the right choice in rejecting Christianity. But I would like to say that when you ask God for something, and at any time in the process between prayer and response that you feel the tug of doubt, make a conscious effort to continue to believe. Wrapped up in humility before the Lord, is the concept that we don’t know everything. Also the fact that we’re not our body, but that’s ancillary. When the angel comes to Daniel and tells him that “from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard…” (Daniel 10:12, emphasis mine), we can either choose to believe, as we chose to believe that God was real in the first place, or choose to doubt.

Seek out the doubt in your heart and mind and consciously offer it to God (and ask for forgiveness, if need be), and see Him answer you in whatever capacity your need requires.

“And Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught Him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)