Clouds

Dear Friends,

Glorious uncertainty…that is what Oswald Chambers called it. It is the idea that you are in a situation where you can not see what is ahead but you are certain of God that He will not let you fall. Oswald Chambers puts it this way, “One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God, “Because thou didst keep the word of My patience.” God takes the saints like a bow which He stretches and at a certain point the saint says, “I can’t stand any more,” but God does not heed, He goes on stretching because He is aiming at His mark, not ours, and the patience of the saints is that they ‘hang in’ until God lets the arrow fly. If your hopes are being disappointed just now it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly; one or two things lie unsolved, and the biggest test of all is that God looks as if He were totally indifferent.”

I made the comment a couple of weeks ago that ‘clouds’ are one of God’s great tools. It is in these ‘cloud’ experiences that some of our greatest growth takes place. If you will do a study of clouds in Scripture, you will find some very interesting reading. There are seven uses of clouds in the Bible.

1. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s promises.

Genesis 9:13-14
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. [14] And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

The rainbow is a promise to the world. But God said that He would bring the cloud first and that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud. Most of us want to remove all clouds from our experience. It looks as if the clouds are necessary to appreciate the rainbow of promise.

2. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s guidance.

Exodus 13:21-22
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: [22] He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

God guided His people through the wilderness by a cloud. The principle of faith is the main element here. We walk by faith, not by sight … He is still our guide.

3. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s protection.

Exodus 14:19-20
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: [20] And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

The cloud became a partition between them and their enemy. God will protect us from the attack of the Enemy.

4. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s provision.

Exodus 16:10-12
And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
[11] And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, [12] I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.

God abundantly provides for us:
• Abundant Life – John 10:10
• Abundant Power – Ephesians 3:20
• Abundant Supply – Philippians 4:19

5. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s glorification

Exodus 24:15-18
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. [16] And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. [17] And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. [18] And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Moses was surrounded by God’s glory in a cloud. Can we see the glory of God today? How? 2 Cor. 3:18 (GW) As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

How can we reflect the glory of God?
• By Good Works – Matthew 5:16
• By Bearing Fruit – John 15:8
• By Consecration – 1 Corinthians 6:20

6. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s presence.

Exodus 40:33-38
And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
[34] Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. [35] And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. [36] And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: [37] But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. [38] For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

Today God dwells in us who are believers; we are God’s “temple”…His dwelling place on earth. We should practice His presence daily.

7. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s coming again.

Acts 1:9 (KJV)
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Jesus will take us home in a cloud – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Wow…that means when we go to heaven, we will be accompanied by His glory (the cloud).

In Exodus 24 & 25 God’s cloud covered the mountain just before God spoke. Exodus 33:10 & 11 says that from a cloudy pillar the Lord spoke to Moses ‘face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’. Thank God for your cloud…this is where He speaks to His friend!!! Be grateful today that God loves you enough to put you in a cloud of uncertainty…He is about to speak. Start focusing on the certainty of God and His promises and listen to your Friend!

Remember to live in such a way that when the world and the church see you, they will know that God can be trusted!

Listening in our cloud,

Billy and Sheilah Daws

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What Does God Value?

God’s Word is a deep reservoir of spiritual nourishment. Spend time with the Lord today. Talk to Him of all that you are concerned about. Don’t waste any day! Learn of Him and lean on Him!

God continues to tell me that His focus is the process which is defined as the ‘as we go’, or the ‘journey’, or the ‘day in and day out’ or the ‘daily living’. At the same time, my focus seems to always be the end which is the ‘final destiny’ or ‘the job’ or ‘the position’ or ‘the date’ or ‘the opening’. Guess who needs to shift their focus? God is enjoying the process because in this uncertainty we draw near to Him. I believe God’s favorite tool is a cloud. Recently I was reading from Oswald Chamber’s book, Still Higher For His Highest, these words, “…spiritual insanity must result if we push down barriers before our spiritual progress is ready for the revelation. Men will not wait for the slow, steady, majestic way of the Son of God; they try to enter in by this door and that door. The barriers are placed by a Holy God, and He has told us clearly, ‘Not that way.’ God grant we may accept His clouds and mysteries, and be led into His secrets by obedient trust.” Remember, the walk is a walk of faith not of sight. Our biggest opportunity to please God is when we are in the thick cloud and we choose to trust Him even when we can’t see anything ahead.

Part of the problem is that we don’t seem to value the same thing that God values. Let’s face it…most of us feel that most of our problems would be solved if we were financially secure. I recently did a word search looking for all the things that God values more than gold. I found seven things. So…what does God value more than gold?

  1. God values wisdom which is defined as “seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference” Proverbs 3:13-15 reads, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; [14] For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. [15] She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”
  2. God values understanding. Proverbs 3:13 says, “ Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding”.
  3. God values knowledge. Proverbs 8:9-10 reads, “They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. [10] Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

Those with knowledge are able to collect, remember, and access information. They “know” the Scriptures. God’s word is literally “in them”. But, it is possible to have knowledge and lack understanding and wisdom; to have the facts, but have no clue as to the meaning or what to do next.

Those with understanding are able to abstract the meaning out of information. They “see through” the facts to the dynamics of what, how, and why. They are teachers. Understanding is a lens which brings the facts into crisp focus. Understanding produces “rules of thumb” or principles.

Those with wisdom know which principle to apply now. Understanding without wisdom can appear contradictory (Proverbs 26:4-5). For example, “He who hesitates is lost”, is a valid principle as well as: “Haste makes waste”. We see the truth of both. But which should we apply next? Those with wisdom know what to do next; they know which way to go. They do the right thing. In contrast, there are many who have great knowledge and understanding, but consistently do the wrong thing. Wisdom, in this sense, is the goal, and knowledge and understanding only have eternal value as they result in wisdom, or what we end up doing.

James 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. !

  1. God values His Word. Psalm 19:10 reads, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
  2. God values a good name. Proverbs 22:1 reads, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
  3. God values you and me more than gold. Isaiah 13:12 reads, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold.” This is where my self-worth comes from…God values me…wow!
  4. God values the perfecting of my faith more than gold. 1 Peter 1:7 reads, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

When we cry out for God to hurry up and let’s get to the end of this test or trial, God just sits there and takes His sweet time. Why? It is because His values are different…they are perfect just as He is. God values the process more than we do. For it is in the process, that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are developed. It is in the process that our faith is perfected. “If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish–His purpose is the process itself.” Oswald Chambers

So…put down the crowbar and quit trying to force the door open. Let the process happen…wait on God…and at a point in time, the same thing will happen for you that happened to Peter who had an iron gate that stood between him and freedom: Acts 12:10 reads, “…they came unto the iron gate that leads unto the city; which opened to them of its own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street…” At the right time, God made the iron gate to open by itself! Mark 5:36 says, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

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Introduction

When Manoah found out that he and his wife were going to have Samson he asked the angel of the Lord, “How shall we order the child?” This is given to us in Judges 13. The only instruction the angel gave was directed to what the mother was not to eat during the pregnancy because the child was to be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
A Nazarite is defined by Unger’s Dictionary as one who set apart for the service of God. This is God’s ultimate intention for all men and women. We were created for God. But how do we order ourselves and our children to be set apart for God? The Psalmist found God’s answer. It is recorded for us in Psalm 119:133,

“Order my steps in Thy Word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

God’s instruction for Samson’s mother on ordering her child was not to eat anything that came from the vine or anything unclean. God was instructing her to watch what she fed the baby inside of her. This referred to not only physical food but spiritual food also. God wants children fed spiritual food from His Word beginning in the womb.
In 1 Samuel 1, Elkanah realized the importance of the Word in his young child’s life. Hannah would not leave Samuel until he was weaned which was usually between 3 and 5 years of age. Elkanah gave her instructions on what to do while she stayed with him. He told her, “Only the Lord establish His Word.
When my husband and I found out we were going to have a child, we responded similarly to Manoah. We asked, “How can we teach him to have a heart for You, Lord?” God began to teach us the importance of saturating our minds with His Word during that time especially. As soon as our child was born, God further taught us that ordering our child in the Word during the first 5 years was foundational for his spiritual growth.
This book is written to every person who has a desire to have children set apart for God from the very beginning. Especially in a day when Satan is launching an all out attack for the minds of our children through humanism, television, illicit sex, pornography, drugs, alcohol, and other devices, must children be set apart for God from the start. We would all like to prevent our children form ever falling into these sins rather than trying to recover them from Satan’s control in later years. God’s only instruction for Manoah and his wife concerned the prenatal months. He lead Elkanah to instruct his wife to spend the first 3 to 5 years in having His Word established in Samuel. God would rather we have a preventive ministry than a recovery ministry with our children. His preventive plan is to order the child in His Word beginning in the prenatal months and the first 5 years. With this start our children will be equipped for life and “iniquity will not have dominion over them.”

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