Love in Christ,
Susan Smith's Newsletter, July 29, 2011
There is healing when you give someone voice. Listening to a hurting heart can be therapeutic when the time is right. Silence can speak volumes, but then again words are powerful too if they come from the Lord via the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is difficult for me to hear clearly and to see with a pure heart. Often I pray for God to open the eyes of my heart and others who are hurting. I also have learned that pain can draw me closer to God, and when I am hurting deeply it tends to draw me closer to God, almost as though he is watching me closer than before.
The words that are written tell me it is good for me to draw near to God (Psalm 73:28). For me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made him my refuge so that I can tell of all his works. I like David Stern’s translation from Psalm 73:
Whom do I have in heaven but you? And with you, I lack nothing on earth. My mind and body may fail; but God is the rock for my mind and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who adulterously leave you. But for me, the nearness of God is my good.
My friend, you are in the kingdom of heaven now, if you believe the truth. I am not talking about relative or comparative truth that we hear so much about during this season in the world. I am talking about absolute truth. The Messiah is the truth (John 14:6). He is the way we must go in order to come unto the father, and he is the life we must live if we want to choose life instead of death (John 14:6).
When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River, there were still wars in the Promised Land. We are in spiritual battles today, every day we breathe. The battlefield is the mind! We are all experiencing the oppression and what appears to be destruction by the enemy in and on the earth today. What can we do? Nothing, we must BE what we are, by his GRACE! When we are focused and following Jesus, then the Lord directs our path.
We must trust in the Lord with all our corporate heart and lean not on our own individual understanding. In all our ways the ONE body must acknowledge the ONE God of heaven and earth, the ONE God of ISRAEL, and he will make level our individual paths and make them straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
By God’s grace I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10). We have ONE enemy. We are created in the image of God; therefore, we are spiritual people. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The spiritual realm is real. We are slaves to the one we obey (Romans 6:16). We must be sober and be watchful. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
In union with the Messiah, through his faithfulness, we have boldness and confidence when we approach God. When we suffer for others, it is for their glory. For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name (Ephesians 3:12-15). There is ONE body (Ephesians 4:4). My prayer this day is that the eyes of your heart and mine may be enlightened, so that we both will know what is the hope of his calling (Ephesians 1:18). Do you have hope this day?
I received a personal phone call from a pastor I love last week. He knew I was traveling to Israel for the three-week study tour, and he called to tell me he missed me in worship the first Sunday I was back. My custom is to worship with several congregations throughout each year. I enjoy the variety of the spiritual food I receive from different circles of worshipers.
It made me feel good to receive the call. I told the pastor I wanted to worship with a congregation that I know loves Israel my first Sunday back. He understood and showed me God’s grace when he said he did not want me to feel pressured to attend the religious service where he speaks most every Sunday unless there is a guest speaker. Then I told him I was very interested in attending the Wednesday night bible study he will be teaching later this year.
The study I hope to attend should show me more of the pastor’s heart concerning Israel. I was pleased to hear him call Jesus the “Messiah” not long ago. The study is called a “Precept Bible Study” and the advertisement for the study says this:
Do you know that our relationship with Jesus Christ is built on an Old Testament covenant with Abraham? Do you know that the Covenant bridges the Old and New Testament? Do you know that our Lord and Savior is the fulfillment of that covenant? Do you know that everyone who is not a part of that covenant is not among God's chosen people? Would you like to learn why God chose you for His Kingdom and not others?
God’s people are beautiful all over the earth and in the world where we live in the flesh today. On the sixth day of creation, God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31). I am in love with the family of God, the ONE body. Of course even they can be discouraging and even disappointing at times to my fleshly desires.
You see, the Bible study sounds good to my ears; however my hope is not in the written Word of God. My hope is in the Living Word. When I draw near to him, I realize he is keeping a closer eye on me than ever before. I begin to realize his eyes are like a flaming fire; he is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God (Revelation 19:12-13). It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).
Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations—“He will break them with an iron rod; shatter them like a clay pot” (Psalm 2:9). It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious wrath of God, the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:15-16).
As a believer, I am not very interested anymore in learning more facts and what other people might think. I want to know God and the ONE he sent (John 17:3). I want to believe the Spirit of Truth is guiding me into all truth (John 16:13). Hmmm… if God’s chosen people are made in his image and we are ONE body, then maybe somehow, someway we can learn from one another. I believe I am purely and simply following Jesus. Want to join me? After all, we are ONE! (Colossian 2:9-11 and Colossians 3:9-11). Think about these things… ~ Susan Smith
Hat Tip and many thanks to Susan Smith!