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How Much Does God Intervene In the Lives of Men?

devineinterventionNow that’s a weighty question, isn’t it?

There are many who believe that God creates us and then stands back and lets life happen. I don’t currently count myself among those. I may later in life but I fear that might be because new wounds have been inflicted and I really don’t want to go there . . . But today, today, I think the Bible supports the conclusion that God is very active in the lives of His creation.

Hagar, a pagan (not to be mean-spirited here, just a factual description) declared God to be, the God who sees me, after her desert encounter with what many believe to be the pre-incarnate Christ in the wilderness when she fled from Sarah. In fact, Hagar had two separate encounters with God and He intervened in her life twice but also in Ishmael’s future promising in Genesis 17:20 that he would have a great number of descendants of which would come 12 princes. Take a look at Hagar’s first meeting with the Lord – I love the meaning of Ishmael- that was a new discovery for me!

Genesis 16:7-14

Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” 10 Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord said to her further,

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael [I.e. God hears]
Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone’s hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of [Lit before the face of; or in defiance ofall his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees” [Or You, God, see me] for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [I.e. the well of the living one who sees me]; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

redseaAdditional examples of God’s intervention into the lives of men include:

A poor shepherd boy, David, who was elevated to warrior, hero and eventually king.

Let’s not forget Joseph, who, by most accounts was a spoiled brat before he was elevated to Pharaoh’s right hand man.

And for goodness sakes, the poor prophets. God intervened repeatedly in their lives in order to fulfill His purposes.

It should be noted God’s plans for Ishmael, David, Joseph and the prophets didn’t rescue them from difficult circumstances. In fact, His intervention resulted in a host of problems in every instance. Ishmael and his descendants fought with everyone and everyone with him. David may have been anointed King, but his path to the throne included being hunted by King Saul who sought to kill him. David was forced to run for his life! Joseph, prior to stepping into his pre-ordained role to save the people from starvation, was cast into a pit, sold into slavery, escaped a lecherous queen only to be falsely accused and thrown in prison, all before he was elevated to Pharaoh’s right hand man. And the prophets were sent hither and yon to issue verbal slap downs to kings and communities, and for their trouble they were hated and killed.

emptytombNeed a New Testament example?

God intervened in the life of a young Jewish girl making her the mother of His son, Jesus Christ.

Paul a zealous pursuer of Christians was met on the road to Damascus, made blind, later had his sight restored, and then became an evangelist.

Jesus intervened and changed a bunch of fishermen into church leaders.

And all suffered for their service. Every single one. Mary watched as her son was hung on a cross. Paul was beaten, chased out of town, imprisoned, and shipwreck in service to the Lord.

timesandseasonsAnd those fishermen who established the Christian church were martyred often dying horrifying deaths.

I can’t tell you exactly how often God intervenes in the lives of common men, but I do think the Bible clearly shows that he doesn’t simply create humans and cut them loose to fend for themselves in this world. He also doesn’t hide the fact that following Him doesn’t ensure easy passage through this life either. Keep in mind that, like those named in the faith hall of fame found in the book of Hebrews, many will die without seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises.

2014_08-god-intervenes-to-keep-israel-safeI’m pretty sure that since the Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and always, that He continues to intercede in the lives of men today. We should take that to heart as the presidential election bears down upon us. We should keep that in mind as we see more and more signs of the end of the age revealed. God is God. Always has been. Always will be. His word will not return void.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Faith

 

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What Else Does the Bible Say?

lament beauty

At some point, every suffering Christian is encouraged to “choose joy” and move beyond their pain. And how can any good Christian argue with such biblical advice? But, as my grief counselor often says . . .

“What else does the Bible say?”

 

 

“When pain almost strangles us and darkness is our closest friend, what should we do?”

“For years, I thought the best response was cheerful acceptance. Since God uses everything for our good and His glory, I felt the most God-honoring attitude was to appear joyful all the time. Even when I was confused and angry. Even when my heart was breaking. And especially when I was around people who didn’t know Christ.”

Vaneetha Rendall Risner has something worth consideration to share on this topic. Click on the source link below to see what else the Bible has to say about how to handle suffering.

Source: Lament: Beauty out of Bitterness – Vaneetha Rendall

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief

 

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How well did I understand grace before I understood grace? – Escape to Reality

magic-eye-3dHave you ever seen those Magic Eye 3D pictures that look random at first glance but then reveal a hidden picture? Maybe there’s a group of you looking and someone says, “Wow – look at that! It’s a …

(Clink on the link highlighted in red below to read the full article.)  

Source: How well did I understand grace before I understood grace? – Escape to Reality

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Faith, Links

 

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A Frank Conversation with the Father

 

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Why a glimpse behind the curtain to the deeply personal and hidden grief of a bereaved parent? Not to inspire your pity; of that I can assure you.  Instead to inspire others to look beyond the surface of a grieving friend or family member. To consider how families are affected by loss, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, as well as the unique family dynamics that result; which might help you comfort, support and encourage them. The bereaved desperately want to be understood, to have their feelings validated, to break free of the isolation, to mourn unrushed, to have another share their sorrow (not attempt to fix it). This post was written months ago and is not reflective of my current state of mind.

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A Frank Conversation with the Father

Here’s the deal Lord, I have no idea how to navigate this existence I’ve been left with.  I don’t even want to navigate it — at all.  I know You are the answer and yet I’m terrified of You — of Your “good” plans for me (pardon the sarcasm).  I’m so broken and I wish more than anything that you had just let all of us die that terrible day.  I’m furious that you allowed that accident to happen, that every dream I’ve ever had has been either withheld from me or snatched from my feebly grasping hands.

nt-puzzle-perseverance-20091101-19-728I have no peace because my fear of You prevents me from drawing close. How can I trust You when You repeatedly allow me to be crushed?, and yet You sustain me.  I don’t get it.  I don’t know how to move forward, with or without You.  I need You but I’m afraid of You – afraid of how much what’s left of this life will hurt – afraid I can’t survive any more.  I’m teetering on the brink of insanity.  But for Gracen I’d just want to slip over the edge.

I desperately need Your help but am afraid to ask and so resistant to any future because I don’t want new dreams; I want my old dreams back.

I can’t let go of my fear and my resistance in my own power.  But I also can’t stomach any more of life as I currently know it.  This is the best I can offer in on my own.  Please do for me what I can’t do for myself.  Do what’s best for me because I’m just hurting myself.  Change me because I can’t change myself.  Help me to rest, or be still, or trust or whatever it is You want from me to move me past this purgatory in which I’m currently living.  I don’t think I can ask twice.

 



 

Helping the Bereaved Bear their Burdens

1.  Realize it is normal for those who mourn to question and struggle with scripture, long held beliefs, drawing close to, leaning on and trusting God.  Don’t get freaked out if you see this happening.

Genesis322.  Ask probing questions instead of correcting or rebuking especially with scripture.  The last thing the grieving need is to feel defensive or to carry the additional weight of fellow believer’s condemnation (which may translate in their minds to God’s condemnation). The believing bereaved need safe people who allow them the freedom to express fears, anger, and disillusionment with God and their faith — people who allow them to question and wrestle with scripture. Failing to provide that will lead them to withdraw or simply suppress their questions and fears.  The grief-stricken may completely turn their back on their faith (not lose their salvation, simply quit following Christ) or they might ignore their questions and carry on with their faith.  They may grow and mature in other areas but place a large “No Trespassing” sign on that area of the heart refusing to allow the Holy Spirit to heal those deep wounds. Unhealed wounds fester.  Allowing a believer to wrestle with their beliefs, to confront scripture, is not something to fear. It’s something to encourage.

3.  Ask God for wisdom and discernment for yourself and the bereaved.  Be cognizant of whether the grieving believer is asking you to help them understand or simply to hear them out.

131574.  If the grieving believer is struggling with a specific scripture and is seeking feedback, make sure they are viewing the passage in context. If you are concerned that they might be misinterpreting a scripture ask, “What else does the Bible say?”. Acknowledge when you yourself don’t understand.  If you aren’t fast on your feet, ask if you can think it over and get back to them — DO NOT fail to return a response! They need you to keep your word and are often desperate for an explanation. If it’s taking awhile to find an answer, email and let them know you are still mulling it over.  Always use the Bible, trusted commentaries, or trusted faith-based resources in a biblical discussion.  Don’t add to or take away from scripture.  For example, count it all joy doesn’t mean they should be happy their loved one died.  Christ wept with the bereaved, he didn’t tell them not to be sad or to find a new perspective, or to buck up and move forward.  Follow His example.

reveal light

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Faith, Grief

 

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