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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Have You Set Your Faith Like Flint?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Do you know the old expression Is your cup half empty or half full? Well tell me this—how do you view this in relation to your life? Are you waiting for your ship to pull in before you become excited about what God has done in your life or have you noticed and are you thankful for what God has blessed you with now?

In the 2nd chapter of Malachi, we read about those who could only see from the half empty perspective. They were God’s people but their heart, their attitude, and their personal lives before God did not reflect it. Consequently, how they viewed and understood God and the way He treated them was contemplated from a distorted perspective. When you aren’t living right before God and yet you still expect His blessings, your perspective is off somewhere. If you read the book of Malachi, you would see that God’s people were doing their own thing, yet wanting God to bless them outside of obedience to His Word. Thus they developed a lousy and skewed perspective and attitude. They whined that God blessed evil doers while not blessing them. Malachi 2:17 NIV says, “You have wearied the LORD with your words.” How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and He is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

In modern-day language, it might sound like this. "God always seems to bless them but we never get blessed.” “This blessing stuff doesn’t work. My brother Frank has enough money for the entire family and yet he lives like the devil.” “I don’t get it. I give God some money once in a while and my car breaks down and I don’t have enough for the bills. That’s it! I’ve had it. If this is how God is going to deal with me, I’m going to keep my money and live like the devil, maybe I’ll come out ahead.”

If you notice at the start of this verse, it says, “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” We know that the Bible teaches, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If someone was speaking words that wearied God, then we know that this was what was in their heart and thus, their perspective.

In Isaiah 50:7 we see the half full perspective. “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” This is the person who truly knows the Lord and is confident from the promises of God ,that the Lord is their helper, and consequently sets their face like flint. They know that God is there for them and that settles it. They are not going to be moved no matter what the negative circumstances seem to say. This is a heart attitude that emulates faith—faith that pleases God. This person's heart is a beautiful and inviting atmosphere for God to move mightily in. In the book of Matthew, we read about the woman with the issue of blood who had been sick for 12 years. She had finally set her face like flint toward God. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” This pleased the Lord because her words rightly reflected the heart and will of God. Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. Matthew 9:21-22 NIV

When Christians aren’t mindful of God's love and promises to them, then when trouble comes, their faith is at risk. They most often don't feel like God is helping them. They soon become weary and disappointed and feel like their faith is dying. They begin to feel distant and pull back from God. They stop meditating on His Word and quit praying. Next they stop going to church and then eventually pull back from Christian friends. And finally they get careless about what they think and do that they know is outside of God's will and become loose with sinful behavior. It's just a short time later that whining and complaining begins to spill out their mouth. Their perception of God’s goodness has deteriorated and becomes distorted. Satan lurks just around the corner ready to convince them that having faith in God is bogus and a complete waste of time.

Intimate relationship is about great communication and God wants us to spend time in His word meditating on the depth of His love and promises He makes to His children. When we keep them before us and praise God for His intimate love toward us, then the our eyes of our heart are opened and we see more of what He is doing in our life.  We notice His touch and help! We notice the small miracles that others call coincidence. It strengthens our faith.

Our faith is to become steadfast like flint toward God’s promises as we see it spoken of in Isaiah 50:7. “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Flint is a variety of quartz, that due to its extreme hardness, is easily shaped by flaking. Known and used since very ancient times, flint was used by the Israelites for knives, ax heads, arrow heads, spear heads and starting fires. God wants us to be immovable by circumstances, instead standing hard core like flint in His promises. He wants them to be the tool we use to shut the mouth of the devil. He wants our words to be: Father, I thank you that this is your promise for me and I’ll not be moved until I see it manifest in my life. I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. When we draw close to Him with that kind of tenacity, God will help us see the cup half-full while He is filling it the rest of the way. Our face will be set like flint and our faith ignited.

Be blessed as you praise God for the abundance of goodness that He has touched your life with today! Speak your thanks out loud to Him. and watch your heart grow closer and your faith grow stronger. And finally, watch it change you and your circumstances.

Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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