Compiled 4/87—"Yield & Obey!"—Part 2 DFO 2225
(See definitions of complicated words on Pg.16—)
1. YOU DON'T LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT SUBMITTING TO THE LORD OVERNIGHT. IT TAKES TIME‚ IT TAKES BREAKINGS, IT TAKES SUFFERING, IT TAKES LESSONS & EXPERIENCE—all which cause you to draw close to Him when you realise that you can't make it in your own strength! Usually, when the Lord is planning on using you, He lets you go through some real tests & trials. Jesus said, "Every branch in Me that beareth fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit!"—Jn.15:2.
2. WE OFTEN GO THROUGH SUCH TESTS & TRIALS TO PURGE US & TO MAKE US BETTER VESSELS, to make us more fit for His service & more humble & more loving. (2Tim.2:21) He puts us through the fire to burn out the dross; & through the storm to blow away the chaff; & through deep waters, so we can learn to swim! (Isa.43:2) He also uses it to teach us lessons that we can pass on to others, "that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the same comfort that we ourselves are comforted with by God."—2Cor.1:4.
3. THE LORD USES SUCH TESTS TO GIVE US GREAT VICTORIES, EVEN OUT OF SEEMING DEFEATS, because the trials cause us to draw closer to God & cry out to Him & really seek Him with all our hearts. (Jer.29:13) Otherwise we have a tendency to just sort of rock along with business as usual. But such trials cause us to rely more on the Lord. And every time you make it through one, it makes you a little bit stronger to make it through the next one.
4. THE STORMS & THE FIRES, THE TRIALS & THE TRIBULATIONS ARE ALL TO TEST YOUR STRENGTH & YOUR DETERMINATION‚ & to give you a chance to battle the Devil & to see if you'll give up & lose faith, or if you'll keep on fighting & trusting the Lord! He often allows you to have your faith & your patience tested to see how much you really want to stir yourself up to call upon Him for His help & strength.—Isa.64:7.
5. LOOK HOW GOD TESTED ABRAHAM'S FAITH! Isaac was the promised seed, his promised son, the miracle son that God had given to him when he was 100 years old. His wife Sarah was in her 90's‚ & it had "ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women" (Gen.18:11), she'd quit menstruating & her womb was barren! But Sarah miraculously "conceived seed & was delivered of a child when she was past age".—Heb.11:11. The Lord promised Abraham that through this miracle son, Isaac, Sarah would become "a mother of nations, kings & people".—Gen.17:16.
6. BUT GOD WANTED TO TEST ABRAHAM, TO SEE IF HE WOULD STILL OBEY & WORSHIP & SERVE THE LORD EVEN IF HE HAD TO GIVE UP ISAAC. God really put Abraham through it, to see how loyal he was, how faithful he was, to find out if he was willing to resign himself to the will of God, whatever it might be! The Lord told him‚ "Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac‚ whom thou lovest, & get thee into the land of Moriah: & offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains."—Gen.22:2.
7. BUT DEAR ABRAHAM OBEYED, & HE TOOK ISAAC TO MORIAH, LAID HIM ON THE ALTAR & WAS ACTUALLY DETERMINED TO GIVE HIM UP. The Bible says Isaac was "as good as dead" as far as Abraham was concerned.—Heb.11:12. But just as Abraham raised his knife & was about to slay his beloved son, the Angel of the Lord cried out, "Abraham!—Lay not thine hand upon the lad!—For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withholden thy only son!"—Gen.22:10-12.
8. ABRAHAM PASSED THE TEST, God spared Isaac, & Abraham was ready to become the father of all the faithful‚ & inherit the mighty blessings God had for him! The Lord often tests us like that‚ & though He may not require us to always permanently sacrifice our "Isaacs", our loved ones or things most dear to us, He does require the surrender, our willingness to put our all on His altar, to prove we love Him most & are putting Him first!
9. THE BIBLE SAYS EVEN OF JESUS, THAT "THOUGH HE WERE A SON‚ YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE THROUGH THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED."—Heb.5:8. Severe trials, testings & suffering are hard for any of us to go through, but they teach us priceless lessons of yieldedness‚ submission & obedience to the Lord. Often, life's darkest hour is just before dawn! Sometimes God's got to get you all the way down before He can get you to look up! You'll find that some of the most precious lessons you'll ever learn from the Lord come out of such deep dark experiences.
10. SO EVEN IF YOU DON'T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHY YOU'RE GOING THROUGH SUCH TRIALS, REMEMBER, GOD KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING! He knows all the purposes & reasons behind each test, trial, affliction etc. Often it might just be to humble us, & if nothing else, to draw us closer to Him.
11. HE PROMISES‚ "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD."— Rom.8:28. The Lord is not going to let anything happen to you‚ His child, except what is for your good! You may feel like, "My goodness!—A lot of things have happened that don't look very good to me!" Well, I daresay you finally found out sooner or later that somehow or another they were good for you.—Or you will yet! (Here's a true story that clearly illustrates this wonderful truth:)
Years ago a fishing fleet went out in the early morning from a small harbour on the east coast of Newfoundland. In the afternoon there came up a great storm. When night settled down not a single vessel of all the fleet had found its way back into port. All night long wives, mothers, children & sweethearts paced up & down the windswept beach, wringing their hands & calling on God to save their loved ones. To add to the horror of the situation, one of their cottages caught fire. Since the men were away, it was impossible to put out the blaze & save the home.
When morning broke, to the joy of all, the entire fleet returned safely to harbour in the bay. But there was one face which was a picture of despair—the wife of the man whose home had been destroyed in the fire. Meeting her husband as he landed, she cried, "Oh, Honey, we are ruined! Our home & everything in it was destroyed by fire!" But the man exclaimed to her surprise‚ "Thank God for that fire! It was the light of our burning cottage that safely guided the whole fleet into port!"
12. NO MATTER WHAT IT IS THAT YOU GO THROUGH, ALL THINGS REALLY DO WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE THE LORD! And even though it may not always seem very good to you at the time, remember, God gets some of His greatest victories out of seeming defeats.—Victories of yieldedness‚ brokenness, humility & more utter dependence on Him, which you must have if you're ever going to be what God wants you to be! PTL!
THANK GOD FOR THE ROD!—"Thy Rod & Thy Staff, they comfort me!" (Psa.23:4)
13. ONE SURE WAY THAT THE LORD DEALS WITH US WHEN WE BEGIN TO STEP OUT OF LINE & OFF THE STRAIGHT & NARROW TRACK OF HIS WILL IS WITH CHASTENINGS! If we're being rebellious & wilful, He often has to spank us just to get us to really yield, to humble us, & to make us more obedient, contrite & submitted to Him! A loving whack from the Shepherd's rod is what it takes sometimes to keep a wandering sheep on the right path, or to turn it from the wrong one onto which it has strayed.
14. OF COURSE, MOST OF US DON'T USUALLY THINK THAT A SPANKING IS VERY GOOD NEWS, BUT APPARENTLY THE LORD DOES. "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, & scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."—Heb.12:6,11. It certainly doesn't feel like good news when you get it, but it's good for you.—And what's good for you is good news! The Lord uses chastisements because He loves you, & He knows they are needed to keep you in line, keep you in shape & toeing the mark—so you won't miss the mark!
15. I'LL NEVER FORGET THE TIME THE LORD WARNED US, "DON'T RUN AROUND OUTSIDE OF THE TOWER OF MY PROTECTION, outside in disobedience & rebellion & out of My will!"—Because when you do, His Own laws prevent Him from protecting you. If you're being disobedient‚ rebellious, defiant & going ahead in your own wisdom, your own knowledge & leaning to your own understanding, running around going your own way, instead of asking God every moment for His will: "Lead me, Lord, help me‚ Lord, show me, Lord, what to do!", then He will usually try to stop you!
16. IT SEEMS LIKE THE LORD WOULD NEVER LET ME GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING! Whenever I'd even slightly stray from the straight & narrow path of His will, I always got a sharp spank from the Lord!—I'd suddenly get sick or something if I got the least bit out of line! I'll confess, it was almost always when I wasn't really devoted or really concentrating on trying to do His will, really sincerely with all my heart serving & obeying & trying to help others & trying to witness & win souls.
17. SOMETIMES GOD HAS TO LET THINGS HAPPEN TO US JUST TO GET OUR ATTENTION! Sometimes He has to do something drastic just to get our attention if we're too distracted & thinking about too many other things, the cares of this life, the "thorns" & whatnot‚ & we're not thinking about what we ought to be thinking about!—Luk.8:14. When we're too worried or concerned about this, that & the other, & our minds are off the Lord & on our burdens instead of casting our burdens & cares on Him, He often allows things to happen to sort of jolt & wake us up to the real values: Him & His Will & His Work!
18. TRUE, "MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS", BUT AS I'VE OFTEN SAID, NOT ONLY DOES THE LORD "DELIVER HIM OUT OF THEM ALL", BUT THAT'S WHAT KEEPS HIM SO RIGHTEOUS!—His many afflictions!—Psa.34:19. Because every time the truly righteous person gets the slightest bit out of line, the Lord socks it to him‚ or sometimes in very serious cases even lets the Enemy give him a good whack‚ to get him back in line. I know it seems I can't get away with anything but what the Lord really chastens me!
19. THAT'S WHY I SAY THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS AN ACCIDENT TO A CHRISTIAN.—A CHRISTIAN DOESN'T HAVE ACCIDENTS! If he's in a so–called "accident", it's because God permitted it or allowed it for some reason. If you're sick, it's because God allows it, either to teach you a lesson or to spank you or both!—Or to test you, like He did Job! Maybe it's because you did something you shouldn't have done & you got out of the charmed circle of God's protection & you broke some of His rules, so you have to suffer either the natural consequences or a direct chastening of the Lord!
20. THINGS DON'T HAPPEN TO US JUST BY ACCIDENT, THEY ARE USUALLY CAUSED BY OUR OWN PROBLEMS, OUR OWN SINS, OUR OWN SHORTCOMINGS, OUR OWN FAILURES, OUR OWN BREAKING OF THE RULES, or sometimes just to test us & to try our faith & our patience & our endurance. God allows them! (Job 23:10; James 1:2-4)—That's what keeps you so righteous! Afflictions & problems help keep you close to the Lord. David said‚ "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but in my affliction I cried unto the Lord!"—Psa.119:67.
Things just don't happen to children of God,
They're part of a wonderful plan;
The troubles, reverses, the sorrows, the rod
Are strokes of the Great Sculptor's hand.
Things don't just happen to children of God‚
The blueprint was made by His hand;
He designed all details to conform to His Son,
So all things that happen are planned.
No matter what happens to those called "His Own",
Events that are awful or grand;
Every trial of your life He sends from His throne;
Things don't just happen, they're planned!
SUBMISSION TO OTHERS!
21. NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE LORD TELLS YOU, OR WHAT THE WRITTEN WORD IN THE BIBLE & THE LETTERS SAY TO DO, YOU'RE BOUND TO EVENTUALLY GET OFF THE TRACK IN SOME WAY IF YOU DON'T HAVE SOME KIND OF DIRECT PHYSICAL OVERSIGHT! I'm sure that this is why the Lord has always given His people leaders. They obviously weren't capable of just following the Lord on their own, so He gave them a prophet, a king or a shepherd, some person in human form to instruct them & advise them & counsel them & command them to do His will!
22. ALTHOUGH THE LORD ALONE CAN MAKE YOU DO THINGS, IT MIGHT BE QUITE A BIT MORE DIFFICULT ON YOU IF HE DOES! He can send lightning bolts from the sky or He can allow you to get in an accident or something to effectively get His point across. But in His mercy, He usually gives you human leaders who can maybe be a little easier on you to get you to do things or realise His will.
23. ONE REASON GOD GIVES US LEADERS IS BECAUSE MOST OF US NEED SOMEONE TO TELL US OUR FAULTS! Otherwise we tend to get lazy, slothful‚ careless, unmerciful & unforgiving! No matter how good we're doing, I think we can all take a little suggestion on how to improve now & then.—You need to know you're not perfect & that you need help sometimes, fatherly counsel & motherly, or even brotherly or sisterly advice! So you should be thankful for such correction & try to take it & profit by it, even if you may not always think that it's justified.
24. BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE SO PROUD & SO SMART, THEY CAN'T STAND FOR ANYBODY TO EVEN MAKE A SUGGESTION TO THEM, MUCH LESS CORRECT THEM! Well‚ such people are in pretty bad shape! As I've so often said, we're an Army for the Lord!—And if there's anything any soldier has got to learn to do, it's to be able to take a cussin' out for his mistakes by his commanding officer, & say, "Yes, Sir; thank you, Sir; what next, Sir?"—Even if it hurts! This is a war, & we have little time for sensitivity & nursing our wounds or hurt feelings! We must fight on!—Amen?
25. EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THAT WE NEED IT & DESERVE IT, MANY OF US STILL HAVE A HARD TIME TAKING CORRECTION FROM OTHERS.—Not only because we don't like to admit that we were wrong, but also because accepting correction means not only submitting to the Lord, but also to the person that's correcting us, & such submission is pretty humbling & hard on our pride!
26. THIS IS ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT POINT ABOUT YIELDEDNESS & SUBMISSION: A lot of people feel like, "Alright, fine, I need to submit to the Lord." But how do we learn to submit to the Lord?—He doesn't always boom out of the sky with some big declaration or voice. He usually teaches us submission through our leaders & even co–workers.
27. THE BIBLE SAYS, "BE KINDLY AFFECTIONED ONE TO ANOTHER, WITH BROTHERLY LOVE; in honour preferring one another."—Romans 12:10. This means we should submit to others not only for obedience's sake, but also for love's sake. Sometimes the Lord tries to teach us love‚ submission & humility by putting us in situations with someone who perhaps wants to do something different than what we would personally prefer to do. "Preferring one another" means we won't mind submitting to their wishes, not just because we have to, but simply because we love them & love the Lord & want to keep the peace & be considerate.—Providing, of course‚ that their wishes‚ what they want to do, is in accordance with God's Will & Word!
28. BACK TO RECEIVING CORRECTION: IF OUR SPIRITS ARE SUBMISSIVE, WE'LL BE ABLE TO TAKE CORRECTION FROM OUR LEADERS A LOT EASIER because we won't fight against it, we'll yield & accept it & learn from it. And this, of course, is what the Lord is trying to get us to do.—To learn to submit, to be submissive to Him. So He often puts us through a lot of correction to teach us such lessons. So correction is good for us because it's practice in submission, it teaches us to yield, it's a necessary part of learning to submit, not only to the Lord, but to others as well. His Word says, "Likewise, ye younger‚ submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject (submitted) one to another, & be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, & giveth grace to the humble!"—1Pet.5:5.
29. SOMETIMES IF YOU GET CORRECTED FOR SOMETHING‚ & your leader who is correcting you doesn't quite have all the details & facts exactly right, you may be tempted to take one of those details & use it as an excuse to refuse to accept the chastening or reproof. But if you do this, it's obvious that you're just grabbing this minor point that may be incorrect in order to justify yourself! (Job 9:20) If you say, "Well, those details are not true, so therefore I refuse to accept your conclusions", you are probably saying that because you don't want to accept the main point of the correction that is true!
30. SO IF YOU GET CORRECTED BY SOMEONE, EVEN IF THEY'RE MAYBE A LITTLE WRONG IN PART OF THEIR ANALYSIS, you shouldn't just automatically reject everything that they're saying because all their facts aren't exactly right. Don't get all self-righteous & blame them for a few mistaken minor details in their facts, because they could probably be accusing you of something a lot worse if they knew how bad you really were! Perhaps if they're accusing you of something for which you aren't fully to blame—at least not this time—maybe you are to blame for it a lot of other times!—Like the policeman told my first wife when she insisted that she didn't run the stop light, "Well‚ Lady, this ticket is for all the times you have driven through the stop lights but you didn't get caught!"
31. IF YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU'RE BEING UNJUSTLY ACCUSED, perhaps you should look a little deeper & see if the Lord is trying to get through to you on some other more serious point of which you are very guilty. Don't worry so much about all the little details, just receive & take the main principles to heart‚ regardless of the minor details. "A wise man will hear & will increase learning!"—Prov.1:5.
32. REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE LORD'S CHILD, & IN HIS SERVICE, SO EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU IS IN SOME WAY FOR YOUR GOOD! (Rom. 8:28) So even if you really aren't being treated so well by your overseers or co-workers, the Lord may be allowing it in order to teach you some needed lessons of patience, submission, humility & obedience. —Look how many of God's great men & prophets were trained, humbled & prepared for their tasks under all kinds of unjust & even ungodly leadership, from Joseph with Pharaoh, to David with Saul, to Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar‚ etc.!
33. MOST OF OUR LEADERS, THANK GOD, ARE GOOD SHEPHERDS & SHEPHERDESSES WHO REALLY LOVE THE SHEEP.—But if some treat you wrongly or impatiently or harshly or whatever, it will certainly be to their condemnation. (Jam.3:1)—But if you do happen to go through such trials at their hands, the Lord may use it to teach you some very important lessons‚ to make you more sweet, humble & yielded to Him! "For what glory is it, if‚ when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if‚ when ye do well, & suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God!"—1Peter 2:20.
34. SO WHETHER YOU ARE GOING THROUGH TESTINGS & TRIALS OF YOUR FAITH LIKE ABRAHAM DID, or you're suffering afflictions, illnesses, "accidents", etc. like Job did, or maybe you're receiving a lot of correction from your leadership & guidance from your shepherds like all sheep do, remember, you are the Lord's, He loves you, & He has His hand on your life!—And He's probably just teaching you a few needed lessons in His great School of Submission!—A school which we're all in until we graduate from this life! So keep on learning, progressing & taking to heart the lessons of yieldedness & submission that He, your great & loving School Master, has for you, & He will mightily bless & use you for His glory!—Amen?—GBY!