by Keith Giles
In about 8 days my current contract will expire and I will be back on the job-hunt again. Possibly I could return to temping in the cubicle farms. Part of me almost assumes that this is where God will send me next.
The last two months have been a sort of vacation from the monotonous data entry jobs I had been doing since June of last year. About the time I really started to understand that this process was God's very purposeful plan to kill my flesh, this conference promotion contract came up and I got to escape that for a while.
I felt even then that I had really not yet finished having my flesh crucified in this very painful way. I think it's possible that God may ask me to return to the cubicle farms to lay myself down on the cross beam of humiliating, flesh-destroying work so that He can continue to drive the nails through my flesh and put me to death.
I need this. I know I do. This is not a bad thing. This is not punishment. This is God's Grace to me.
There are things that God wants to do through me that He cannot do until this last part of my arrogant, prideful, selfish flesh is totally dead. I really want to go with Jesus where He wants me to walk, but I do understand that I cannot get there as long as I am carrying this self-seeking, vain, prideful part of myself.
Several friends have prayed for me recently that God would bless me "beyond my wildest dreams" and provide a job that would fit my gifts and provide for our family in abundance, etc.
While I greatly appreciate those prayers, and I do hope that God does that, there's a part of me that really doesn't believe or expect that He will do so.
I started wondering why I thought this. Why don't I expect for God to bless me with a killer job and a more abundant bank account and insurance for my family, etc.?
Is it because I don't believe that God is good? No. I know He is good. In fact, during the last few months I've really seen the tangible proof of His goodness to me. I know He is good.
Is it because I feel I don't deserve this? No. I already know I don't "deserve" anything from God. It's all gravy. I've never once received anything from Him that I "deserved" (and that's something to be thankful for in itself).
I was praying for a friend recently who had fallen pretty hard. As I prayed I saw my friend and I saw The Lord placing a big, gold medal around her neck. I told her that God really wanted to reward her, which considering her moral failure sounded odd. Why would God want to reward her for the last few weeks of wallowing in her sin?
I told her that God's Grace and Mercy were not based on merit, or on what we deserve, but on His amazing love for us and because He looks on the heart and He knows she loves Him.
Even as I prayed this for my friend I realized that this was for me too. God wanted to bless me too, and not because I deserved it (because I've never once deserved any of His blessings), and not because I expected it, but simply because He is my Father in Heaven and He loves me.
Is there a ribbon around your neck? Do you believe that God wants to reward you simply because you are His?
Mercy, by definition, is doing good to someone who doesn't deserve it. That's the point. If they deserved it, it would be justice. So, when God blesses me, in spite of my obvious failures, that is His Mercy.
"If you being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" -JESUS (Matthew 7:11)
I love that Jesus assumes we are sinners. I even love that he so blatantly says this to the faces of the people who are standing and listening to him speak. Of course we are evil. He is not shocked by our failures. His default position is that we are evil. It's part of who we are, without His transformational Grace of course.
But God promises that His Mercies are new every morning: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23)
In Micah, God tells us what it is that He requires of us. If you've never read it, the list goes like this; "He has shown you oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
We're told to "do justice" (which is to see what is wrong (unjust) and make it right. So, when we see someone being opressed, we speak out. When we see someone without enough to eat, we take care of them.
We're also expected to "Love mercy". That's not the same as "doing mercy". We're just told to love it. That means, when we see someone who doesn't deserve a blessing being blessed, we should rejoice. But, honestly this is where I think I struggle the most. When I see someone who has done evil, or made a huge mistake, get a break or a blessing, my first reaction is usually not "Oh, Yes!"
Still, when God shows mercy to me, I tend to get excited and share my joy with everyone. What I need to learn is to rejoice when God allows His Mercy to fall on everyone, regardless of who they are or what they've done.
Lastly, God tells us to "walk humbly with our God". This is also not easy. Humility is surrender. It's being weak. Humility is necessary to enter the Kingdom. It's the complete surrender of the will, the true self, to God alone.
I pray I can learn to love mercy, to rejoice when good things happen to bad people. I pray that I can learn to walk humbly with God and remember that I am dust. I pray that I can learn to do justice, to make things right whenever I can, however I can, every day of my life.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - JESUS (Matthew 7:7-11)
"IN CONTROL" - One of my articles is now online at "The Ooze" (http://www.theooze.com). For me this is a very big deal, actually. I've never had anything published here and it's a very great site for thought-provoking articles. Go and check it out. Leave a comment if you like.
JACKIE PULLINGER:"Non-Con 08" - Not sure if anyone knows her or not. If you don't, you owe it to yourself to google her name and listen to a few of her mp3's. She's seriously one of my heroes in the faith. Yesterday I got an email from her that she's interested in coming to join us for Non-Con 08 next March. I am stunned.
THE GOOGLE GROUP: There are a few of us already discussing stuff and meeting one another online at the Google Group I invited everyone to last week. If you haven't joined us, please do. If you need another invite, shoot me an email here: