Monday, November 15, 2010

Who wins -- God or Baal?

Today I sought instruction and encouragement from God regarding our business situation.  Ours is the same story as millions of others across our great country: higher costs, fewer customers --a  threatened desire to thrive, stay in business, grow, and bless employees and clients.

But since I have access to the Chief Operating Officer of Creation, I sought his advice.  Again.

His advice was the same. Again.

"Trust me." 

A number of  times he has pointed me to Deuteronomy, chapter 8.  This is a passage reminding Israel that He led them in the desert for 40 years in order to humble them and test them, causing them to hunger and then feeding them with manna... a previously unfamiliar teach them that "man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord;"  to discipline them as a father disciplines his son.  He cautions them to remember when things are good, when food is plenty, when all they have is multiplied -- NOT to think that it was because of their power, righteousness or integrity:  "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.  He goes on to warn them not to forget the Lord and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, or they will be destroyed.

When I read this passage I am reminded that God is in control, he is the provider, he is to be worshipped alone, and that there is more to life than "bread," earthly sustenance.  It is both comforting and humbling to realise that God is in control.  It takes pressure off of me to make things happen in my own strength and way.  However much I want things to go "well", they will go as He determines;  and this requires humble surrender to His will.

Back to the question:  what do I do in this business environment, Lord? 

 I am your shepherd. Psalm 23:1        "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8   "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:8

This advice is opposite the advice the world gives.  The world says strive, climb to the top of the heap, be the best you can be.  The struggle I have is to choose to listen to the advice of the one who holds my times in his hands, or to do it myself, or worse, to rely on and worship false sources of comfort and gain.  The draw to follow other advice is ever present, and when the pain of it all nags for relief, it is tempting to try to make it go away.  But I am powerless when God does not give power.

Today, when I asked for guidance, he led me to another passage.  It is the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.  1 Kings 18.  In a standoff between Elijah and King Ahab, Elijah instructs Ahab to assemble 450 of the prophets of the false god, Baal.  Elijah says to the people, " How long will you waver (dance) between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him."  Then Elijah gives the people a chance to see God's power.  He challenges the prophets of Baal to offer a sacrifice and call down fire to consume it.    The prophets call out from morning till noon, dancing around the altar they made, but nothing happens.  Elijah taunts them to shout louder, and they do...they also wound themselves in extreme devotion, and rise to a frenzy but nothing happens. The false god is powerless.

So Elijah repairs an altar of the Lord that was in ruins, digs a trench around it and instructs the people to pour water on the wood, then he tells them to do it again,  and a third time until the water runs down to fill the trench.  He then  prays for God to answer him so that the people will know who has the power and that God  is turning their hearts back again."

"Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood , the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.  When the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ' " The LORD -- he is God!  The LORD -- he is God!" '

False gods, false hope, false dreams come to nothing but pain.  Only God, the LORD, the King of the redeemed heart can bring, fire to consume a drenched sacrifice, water in drought, answers to the seeking believer, and to the struggling business owner in 2010. 

"If the Lord is God, follow him." 

 The LORD -- he is God!  The LORD -- he is God!" '

"Thank you, Father, for your advice and discipline.  Cause my heart to turn ever in your direction.  I sacrifice my will to your perfect , loving plan." Amen

Your Daughter      
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1 comment:

  1. This was such an encouragement because it reminds me that God is a God who communicates with us when we ask His help (and even when we don't! He's merciful!) Hearing your conversation with God encourages me to ask and listen too. Thanks!


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My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

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He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad.... ...Almighty God

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