I haven’t blogged for a number of weeks, due to a number of pressures and loss. This time reminds me of a truth – we are always in a season, and according to His Word, there’s a key activity to undertake in the season we find ourselves in. See Eccles 3:1 The season I am in is transition and this season can really be a troubling time emotionally and mentally and we can experience what I call soul lag.
Soul lag, like jet lag, affects our ability to function. Our bodies which are used to a particular time zone, struggle, initially to assimilate the new zone we are in. It is just the same with our soul which houses our mind, will and emotions – our thinker, chooser & feeler! Temporarily, these all struggle to function, as they transition to a new time, season and activities!
Transition is where all growth and development occur. Nothing new happens when business is as usual. Except, things compound!
Transition is a constant and seasonal dynamic in the heart and mind of the Father for all humans and especially for His sons and daughters. The purpose of His transitional programme is summed up in Deut 8:2 – “remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep my commands.”
Transition is the time and season where the Father reveals the state and condition of our heart, both the good and the bad! His desire is to bring out both and to develop the good and remove the bad. This is the purpose of the pressure and the test. See Roms 3:5 & Jas 1:2-8
As I write, from my experience of transition, my character trait that needs to be developed is a steadfast heart. Ps 112:8 gives me the qualities of a steadfast heart. These qualities need the pressure of their counterparts, so I can resist the and through my multiple repetitions against the resistance, I can develop a steadfast heart. The character trait that needs to be removed is a lack of consistency, or as scripture calls it – constancy!
As I continue on this ‘going and growing’ transitional journey, a foundational theological truth and revelation as come back to me which is found in Roms 5:8 – but God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
Demonstrate, translates as an introduction and so God introduces His love when we are in the worse of states and places – Christ died when we were sinners. This core characteristic of Father’s love is an important reminder as I take on the gap between where I am and where He is leading me which is the goal of transition.
His love kicks in even when I or it, are not looking good or going well! AS well as His unmerited love being available in transition, so too the other side of grace – His unrivalled power! And this power is made perfect in weakness which translates as lacking ability.
So, when I know I cannot, I reminded myself that His power, strength and might, are available, as a covenant right and applied by faith. See Eph 6:10
Whatever season you may be in and however it is going, or not! Remember, His unmerited love AND unrivalled power IS available, especially at those times that look or feel impossible.
If a muscle isn’t worked it atrophies which means it shrinks in size and weakens in its ability to function. When a muscle is over worked it looks weird, disproportionate and often elicits comments.
Expectations are a core, core muscle and avoiding both of the above extremes are vital to the development and maturity of our masculine core. No man lives free of expectations, they usually and sometimes conveniently choose not to accept this or attend to them.
This normally flows from the experience of having had too many wrong expectations put on them or having tried to meet expectations, they have failed or become absolutely frustrated, so they quit. Now they stop expecting and just go with the flow.
For this group of men their expectation muscle is atrophying!
The other extreme reveals itself in something that us men are very prone to; driveness and just like any over worked muscle, driveness is obvious in the life of a man and disproportionate to the Father’s design and desire for our masculine soul. The Father created man to live and work from rest.
Adam’s first working day was the Sabbath! A day off was his starting day!
How can we avoid both extremes? What exercise does our expectation muscle need and how does it become part of our daily routine?
First, we need to accept that we have this expectation muscle by design and our Father desires that we develop and mature it. A failure to acknowledge this truth is dangerous because ‘perishing and lack of knowledge are intrinsically link. See Hosea 4:6.
Then we need to take responsibility to work with our personal training Father, to seek the knowledge we need and then daily act on this so we become wiser and mature at our core. I call this initial part, lifting with the bar.
The bar is the essential tool for all the weights[expectations] we shall choose to lift. Starting to rep with the bar, is a decision and an acknowledgment regarding our desire to get our masculine core into shape!
I am using this illustration of lose weight lifting because of the picture and thought contained in Ecclesiastes 3:10 –
“I have seen the burden God has laid on men!”
The word burden can be translated as heavy responsibility, occupation or task. The thought is not a negative one; burden has so been misunderstood in the church and so it’s time to redeem it.
The thought behind this ‘burden’ He has laid on all men is really the ‘weight of responsibility!’ Our Father given ability to respond; when the right weight of expectation presents itself. God as our personal trainer and spotter knows our potential because He put it in there and so He is only asking for what’s dormant and latent.
When we respond to His expectation prompts, put all our core under the weight of responsibility and rep, we are introducing our potential to the problem He designed us to solve. This is the core exercise our expectation muscle needs!
“Everything manufactured was designed to solve a problem or bring pleasure, with Father it is both.”
..HE predestined us according to His pleasure and His will. Eph 1:5
For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also bring about the accomplishment of the desire. Phil 2:13
All this acquiring of knowledge, the discipline of practice and enduring through daily habits [reps] leads us to the core expectation the Father has for His men -achievement!
By design we are hardwired for achievement.
Within our hearts, at the desire level, He has given us ideas and outcomes He would love to see, realities He deeply desires would be released into the earth; AND He has also given us the power to achieve these desires.
Father’s expectation is that we will think about this truth, respond positively in faith and do all He will show us, to make it a reality within our time and space context.
He is the only Father who is allowed to dream his dreams through His sons.
He has great expectations of us men. May we see them fulfilled in our time!
To remind us of those moments we could of and should of said no, and to prompt us to use this word no, more often this year!
Culturally, January is the reminding and prompting month and by the end of it, here in England at least, we’ve had enough! Along with the reminders and prompts are the necessary products we will need to remind us of what it is we say we want, and to help us achieve our goal!
What is this Father given product? Grace.
grace keeps no record of wrongs! 1 Cor 13:5
Within every memory is energy, a power that can, will and does moves us!
Shame, Guilt and Regret are all weights Father never created us to lift, hold, carry or rep with.
Guilt says I did something wrong. Shame says I am wrong. Grace is the answer to both!
Grace makes us both deserving and worth at the same time! Still find this mind blowing. What a product and it’s free!
Forgiving others is not easy!Neither is forgiving ourselves!
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
Jesus has experienced all that life and men can throw at us!
and bore our suffering,
Took up: a massive Hebrew thought – remove and utterly destroy!
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
Wounds: internal, that is bruises & external, that is blows; are both healed by and through His blood on the cross!
Some memories are devastating, despicable, depressing and yet even into these, He longs to bring His peace and one day also, His justice.
“There is always a blessing to be had from the word therefore in the Bible. It makes us stop and look back to the preceding cause before we move on to the ensuing effect!” Moyter on Philippians
How many times have you had to go back before you can proceed and tick the box that says ” I have read the terms and conditions?”
I love it when I understand the T&C’s, start them and the withdrawal is immediately and literally deposited into my account!
“we do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience [endurance] inherit what has been promised.” NIV
Between, I believe and I receive, and there it is, there is always a gap! Even a nano second is a gap!
He gave them capacity that matched the command!
a ‘sufficiency to meet any deficit,’ we are experiencing.
through faith and endurance will shall inherit what has been promised!
Whilst going through some difficult times, a man had a dream. In his dream he was inside a large kitchen oven, which had a glass door and the temp in the oven got hotter and hotter. It got so bad that he cried out in his dream for God’s help. To his amazement, the kitchen door opened and in walked Jesus! Thank God, he said out loud, as Jesus walked over to the glass fronted oven, bent down and looked in. What happened next gob smacked him – Jesus said, “Nearly done,” and walked out!
The man later understood that God was using the difficulties as ‘Necessary Heat,’ which had a purpose and when that was complete, the man would be ready and come out from this exacting place.
When something is exacting it is dynamically trying and persistently demanding, in an unremitting, relentless way!
The Father will take us into these places, to prove, refine and test us and He will encourage us to stay there until we are done! That is until the necessary heat causes a Separation and an Extraction!
- Exacting places can be Extracting places!
- Extracting means to draw forth or out, pull or take out, to withdraw by a process
- Father’s process is to take us into Exacting places
- Provide the Necessary heat
- Extract what needs to come out or up.
Joseph is the prime example of this Exacting and Extracting process!
…till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. (Psalm 105:19 NIV)The time between what God had said to Joseph and it becoming a reality, is referred to as The Proving Time: Till the word of The Lord proved him true.
From the first time Joseph went public with his dreams, to interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, the stuff hits the fan and, this is the Necessary Heat, the Father uses to ‘prove’ His son and servant!
The Hebrew word for prove pictures refining metal, which requires intense heat. This heat leads to the rising of alloys within the metal, that once removed, will increase the genuineness and value of the metal.
Joseph needed Exacting places, to extract the alloys that were affecting his character and his faith. So too will we because our faith is a vital and highly valued commodity to our Father –
Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away…. (1 Peter 1:7 NET)
- Our faith and gold are both tested by fire – heat.
- The heat our Father uses is trials, testing times, exacting places.
Just as steel is tempered before it takes its place and receives its load, so too will we. Peter, James and John were ‘load bearing leaders’ (Gal 2:9 describes them as pillars) and the gospels record that the Father tested all three before they became pillars aka ‘load bearers!
- Father has to take us into places of trial and testing so He can say we have been ‘Tried and Tested!’
- Many of the trials and tests are the Pre-quel to the main event, just like Joseph.
- Joseph was tried & tested on the way to the palace but he was also tested & tried within his success at the palace! (esp when his bros shown up)!
We may be in an exacting place, which is trying us and demanding much from us. We may feel like getting out from under it all.
- Before you do, can I encourage you to ask the Father if this would be a good move.
- Ask Him what He might be trying to Extract from us, through this time: an attitude, mindset, stronghold,
- Ask Him if you are ready?
- Has the heat done its work?
- Maybe He’s trying to extract an idea, new concept or creative solution from you?
Exacting places are not to be viewed as purely negative, after all ‘necessity is the mother of all invention!’
The bottom line is that there is a bottom line, and it reveals a Father who uses Necessary Heat to draw out perspectives and potential from His sons. The Father took Moses and all the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery and immediately took them into the land of milk and honey! Not so, He took them through the desert and to be honest they don’t come much hotter than this.
- Before they could have what God had laid up for them, they had to be proved; their hearts had to be tested.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV
So, let me re-write a well know phrase – If we understand heat stay in the kitchen!
- Stay in the trial & test until you are ready, let perseverance do its work. See James 1:2
- Rem: He will never test us belong our ability to endure. 1 Cor 10:13
- Try & develop a ‘consider it pure joy’ attitude! James 1:2
- Keep our eyes on the prize, not the problem. Hebs 12:2
- Quit anything that hinders or entangles our ability to persevere & run our course Hebs 12:1
Father has used some right characters and each one He took through necessary heat, so as to prove and refine their character. He has decided to use you and me, so expect some heat and work with Him, through His Exacting & Extracting process!