Thinking Out Loud

June 18, 2017

The Rainy Season

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:20 am

Whenever I would visit Southern California, even though the weather was somewhat consistent for twelve months, there was still a sense of the succession of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. When we were in Cuba, in speaking with the locals, there was clearly no such differentiation. There is the dry season, and there is the rainy season.

Here in the Great Lakes region we’ve experienced a rainy season. As I type this, the day started out bright and Sunny, but as of 9:00 AM, the clouds had totally obscured Ol’ Sol.  I started thinking about the Biblical phrase, “He sends the rains.” The passage is from Job 5:10 and in the ISV it reads, “He sends rain on the surface of the earth, and waters the surface of the open country.” Most other translations have a different shade of meaning to this, “He gives rain…”

Sometimes someone will say that in scripture, rain is a sign of God’s blessing. But Jesus, in Matthew 5:45b is clearly using it in the more common sense, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Rain is seen here as the opposite to “his sun;” a sunny day versus a day you are stuck inside and can’t work your fields.

Again, while rain is a blessing to people living in agrarian times, it’s also shown in Zechariah 10:1 in purely practical terms, “Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field.” It makes the crops grow.

But the idea of the rain of God’s blessings (a phrase that some may be intending while others may be saying ‘the reign‘ of God’s blessing) is indicated in Hosea 6:3,  “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

In my younger days we would sing a chorus, “It’s Beginning to Rain.”

It’s beginning to rain, rain, rain hear the voice of the Father
Saying “Whosoever will come drink of my water.
As Joel prophesied ‘My Spirit will pour on your sons and your daughters.’
If you’re thirsty and dry
Look up to the sky
It’s beginning to rain.”

We should probably adopt the mindset that each time we think of the first type of rain, we’ll consider the second.  Not ‘rain down blessings,’ but ‘rain down Himself,’ or ‘rain down His Spirit.’ Here’s another more recent song song which expresses this:

 

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September 22, 2013

He Once Was Lost, But Now He’s Found

Filed under: Faith — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:40 am

Ultimately, Dr. Henry Blackaby would probably be embarrassed by all the attention that was focused on him over the weekend.  The renown Bible teacher and author was AWOL for 28 hours in Atlanta, at the time family thought it was possibly a complication of diabetic issues. Son Mel Blackaby tweeted the disappearance and it caught my attention on Friday night, but by morning some good news.  The family said Saturday that they believe Blackaby, age 78, had a heart attack which left him confused.

Blackaby’s classic book Experiencing God and its accompanying workbook are perennial bestsellers in the Christian marketplace. Two years ago I copied the outline of the book on this blog:

7 Realities of Experiencing God

(From Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby)

1. God is always working around you (Exodus 2:23-25)

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”

2. God pursues a continuing personal love relationship with you that is real and personal (Exodus 3:1)

“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.”

3. God invites you to be come involved with Him in His work (Exodus 3:8, 10)

“And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites…Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring fouth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”

4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways (Exodus 3:2-8)

“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses, said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”

5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action (Exodus 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10, 13)

“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?…And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee…And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue…And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.”

6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing (Exodus 4:19-20)

“And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.”

7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you (Exodus 6:1-8)

“Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.”

In the book, each one of the realities is represented by a symbol. The fifth one, crisis of belief is depicted by a fork in the road; the sixth, adjustment, is represented by a wrench. But it’s the third one that has always stayed with me, which I believes he expands into the idea of coming alongside areas and people and situations where the Spirit of God is already at work.

Right now, where you live, there are both formal and informal ministries which are already fruitful. Find a place where God is at work and come alongside to join and share in the work God is doing.

January 13, 2013

Knowing All About God vs. Meeting God: Louis Giglio

I mentioned to several people this week that my major disappointment in the way things turned out with Louis Giglio not being part of the U.S. presidential inauguration later this month is that it would have made a whole lot more people aware of this man and his ministry.

A few weeks ago here I commented on how the Liberty Convocation series on YouTube is a treasure trove of great Christian speakers, and sure enough they had one for Louis. I know some people who read here regularly can’t watch the videos I post here, and I’m very sorry about that, but this is the finest message I’ve heard in a long while; it really resonated with me, and I felt it should be shared. (The 2-minute intro describes a conference that has already taken place; you can fast forward to 2:36)

This is well-worth the 41-minute investment it takes to watch.

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