Where Are You?

This newsletter is an attempt to help you know where you are in your ‘journey of life’. For a more indepth study of the stages in life’s spiritual journey, read Bob Sorge’s book, The Fire of Delayed Answers. These stages really sum up our trek through life.

Stage One: You are enjoying God. Your life can best be summarized in Psalm 47:1-2:

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! [2] For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.

Your life is full of blessings but there is a desire for more of God.

Stage Two: A crisis hits! The refining process has begun. God uses three main areas to refine us: personal loss (business, financial, material), grief (loss of loved one), and physical illness. Most of us will experience only one at a time. Job was tested in all three areas at the same time. This can best be described in Psalm 88:3-8:

For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near to the grave. [4] I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, [5] Adrift among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom You remember no more, And who are cut off from Your hand. [6] You have laid me in the lowest pit, In darkness, in the depths. [7] Your wrath lies heavy upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah [8] You have put away my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an abomination to them; I am shut up, and I cannot get out.

This is the lowest of the stages. There is a feeling of hopelessness. Depression, discouragement, and despair are common traits of this stage.

Stage Three: After a period of being mad at God, you begin to seek God to find answers. In this stage the believer will hover between Psalm 38 and Psalm 31:

Psalm 38:6-10 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. [7] For my loins are full of inflammation, And there is no soundness in my flesh. [8] I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. [9] Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. [10] My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.

There seems to be a wandering in the dark at this point. But, you begin to catch a faint light in the distance.

Psalm 31:14-17 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” [15] My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. [16] Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake. [17] Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave.

The crisis is still intense but there is a glimmer of hope.

Stage Four: You begin to see why God is allowing this.

Job 23:10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

You still have no clue as to how long this will last or where He is taking you. You are still puzzled why you have no vision and your ‘purpose clause’ seems to be deleted. Many times this phase is accompanied by a removal from ministry, much the same as John the Baptist. But you know that God loves you, that He is right in everything that He does, that His purpose is right on time, and that Jeremiah 29:11 is still in force:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Stage Five: Happy days are here again! Deliverance comes. The prayers are answered. You suddenly step into Psalm 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. [2] He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. [3] He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

And then you reach the pinnacle of victory. You are at Psalm 18:1-3:

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said: I will love You, O Lord, my strength. [2] The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. [3] I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Well, where are you? God has a strategy. There is a reason for the ‘madness’ in your life. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Your test may last a week, a month, a year, 7 years, or 40 years. But you will always be in God’s hands, even if it does not seem like it. He loves you. Be patient and wait on Him.

We love yall.

Billy and Sheilah Daws

God Throws A ChangeUp

Has God ever thrown you a changeup?

Wikipedia defines a changeup as a type of pitch in baseball. The changeup is thrown with the same arm action as a fastball, but at a lower velocity due to the pitcher holding the ball in a special grip.  The changeup is such that one throws something other than his best fastball.  This  can confuse the batter into swinging the bat far too early or not swinging at all.

God is the greatest changeup pitcher of all time.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  God is looking for us to trust Him.  So God allows or engineers a circumstance in your life that creates a need.  It may be money, healing, direction, or wisdom.  You claim Philippians 4:19 which says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  You believe God.  You persistently knock on heaven’s door and in faith you claim the promise.  God comes through with a blessing that meets your need  in reponse to the faith that you exhibit.  You praise the Lord and everyone is happy!

Matthew 22:36-37 also tells us,  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” [37] Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  God is looking for you to love Him.  So another time God allows or engineers a circumstance in your life that creates a need.  It may be money, healing, direction, or wisdom.  You claim Philippians 4:19 again.  This time nothing happens.  You believe God for the money. It does not come.  You examine your faith.  You claim the promises again.  No money comes.  Heaven is silent.  Your electric bill is late.   You have  unexpected medical bills.  You are even working two jobs, but you still have need. You pray and claim the promise one more time.  Still nothing happens. No need is met.  You get mad at God because you think He has broken His promise.

What happened?  God just threw you a changeup.  Most batters look pretty foolish when they swing at a changeup.  Most believers look pretty foolish when God throws a changeup.

You see…when God wants to see faith in you, He will throw you a ‘faith pitch’ designed to get you to trust Him.  But right after that, God wants to see your love for Him…then He throws you a ‘changeup’.  It is a circumstance that creates need that for the time being He does not intend to meet.  Why?  Because He wants to know, “do you love Me?”  Or, “do you only love Me when I bless you?”  Now that is a changeup.  Many a believer has gotten mad at God because they figured God quit honoring his promises. 

God wants you to answer the same question that He asked Peter.  John 21:15  “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’…” 

Sooner or later God will throw you a changeup.  Be ready for it.  If you respond by showing God love, you will hit a homerun in the game of life!

We love yall.

Billy and Sheilah Daws

Hope Deferred

Elimelech had a fine name.  It meant ‘my God is King’.  The only problem is that he did not live out the reality of his name.  Elimelech and his wife, Naomi lived in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem literally means ‘the place of God’s provision’.  Naomi means ‘pleasant’.  She just wanted to be pleasant and not cause problems and just go with the flow.  Elimelech should have been the spiritual leader of the home, but he wasn’t.  Naomi went along with everything Elimelech did or didn’t do.  She could have made gentle appeals, however, there is no evidence to suggest that Naomi ever said anything to Elimelech about the spiritual direction of their home.

Lim and Naomi had two sons.  Evidently, Lim already felt guilty about where his life was headed. He named the first son, Mahlon which means ‘I am weak’  He named his second son, Chilion which means ‘I am a failure’.  Through a gradual process of not regarding spiritual issues, Lim had failed to live up to what a child of God was supposed to do.

This family was living in Bethlehem, the place of God’s provision, when a famine hit the land. So what did Lim do when a famine hit?  He should have stayed put in the place of God’s provision.  He should have waited for God’s provision, but he didn’t.   He moved his whole family to the land of Moab.

Psalm 108:9 Moab is my washpot. Old Testament Jews were extremely concerned with cleanliness. Wearing sandals in the hot and dusty environment, their feet would become filthy and, upon entering a home, would be washed. In their cleansing and purification rituals they would not put their feet into a bowl, but instead  they held their feet over the bowl and poured clean water over them.  The bowl, or washpot, would be used to catch the filthy water and therefore was a symbol of disgusting filthiness. The phrase “Moab is my washpot” alludes to God’s contempt for this enemy of Israel.  We learn from Jeremiah that God was displeased with the nation of Moab because of her pride and conceit.

Lim did not stay with God and His provision but he ran to the world…to Moab.  We do the same thing when we make decisions without consulting God or when we fail to wait on God’s answer.  The consequences of this decision are always disastrous.  Lim’s two boys married Moab girls which was strictly forbidden by God.  Then Lim and his two sons both died in Moab leaving Naomi and two daughters-in-law as widows.

Forced to make a decision, Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem. She encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their family and relatives in Moab, but Ruth was committed to  Naomi and went to Bethlehem with her.  At some point in time, Naomi remembered  the principle of the ‘kinsman redeemer’  which stated that, in the event of  a death of a husband, the nearest male relative to the deceased would step in and take care of the widow.  Naomi clung to this promise for Ruth.  Look at the advice she gave to Ruth:  Ruth 3:18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”   She told her to wait for the ‘kinsman redeemer’.  Ruth waited and eventually married Boaz, her kinsman redeemer.  She waited for God to provide and as a result, God rewarded her by allowing her to be the great grandmother of David, which is a privileged position in the lineage of Jesus Christ!

Remember the verse we mentioned last week on Friday of Passion week:  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  It is true that a lengthy wait on God can make the heart sick.   I did not give you all that verse  Here it is:  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,  but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  If the object hoped for  is delayed for any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks, and the man is dispirited and ready to give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing.  But  when that which has long been hoped for finally comes, it is as good as the tree of life was in Eden’s garden; it gives an unspeakable pleasure and delight.

Those of us who are heart sick must keep waiting on God,  for the desire will come!!!!

We love yall.

Billy and Sheilah Daws