I've had my B.A. for years and I'm still working on my P.H.D.

Obedience to God always means 100% success.

Pretty good for a high school drop-out who never went back to school – wouldn’t you say?

I’ll explain but first please read chapters 13 and 14 of Numbers.  Carefully observe people too foolish to cash a huge certified cheque.  In obedience to God, Moses selected 12 capable men to go and spy out the land – a land God had promised and already given to them. They were not to see IF they could conquer, but to strategize HOW they would conquer.  All twelve reported how beautiful and productive the land was, but ten had their focus on the enemy instead of God and told the people it was impossible.  The people wept – grumbled – despaired – blamed God for bringing them there to kill them.  They decided to stone Caleb and Joshua (whose focus was on God) and return to Egypt.  They said they were like grasshoppers in their own sight and in the sight of the giant enemies.  How stupid is that - - they were spies – the enemy had never seen them.  They needed to learn what we need to learn - - as we obey God, He turns enemy giants into grasshoppers and (us) grasshoppers into giants.

Then they decided after all this, they would go up to the land.  They ignored Moses as he warned that you can’t fix one wrong with another wrong.  In their foolish and dangerous presumption, they went and were slaughtered.  Disobedience to God always guarantees the death of everything worthwhile.

There are many lessons there for me but what has it got to do with my P.H.D.?  Much about focus.

When I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and trusted Him for paying my sin-debt in full I was sealed by the Holy Spirit and I got my B.A. directly from Heaven.  I was BORN AGAIN!  As time went on I discovered that this B.A. was to be followed by a P.H.D. which was already provided to be continually developed for me throughout my earthly life.  It was my PERSONAL HOLINESS DESIGN. 

In my life God could design a tapestry of holiness unto the Lord.  But what was the Spiritual equivalent to get me to this promised land?

I am (2 Peter 1:4) a partaker of the Divine Nature.

In Christ (1 Timothy 6:17) I have all things richly to enjoy.

I can (Colossians 3:16) let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly

God has freely given me (Romans 8:32) all things with His Son.

Actually, I had obtained (Ephesians 1:11-12) an inheritance in Christ so that I could live to the praise of His glory.

Looking back, I can see that I had the theory down pat.  So why was I gazing with longing at my ‘promised land’?  Don’t forget what I said about focus.  I am going to tell you a few painful things about myself with the hope that if anything resonates, you will allow the Holy Spirit to adjust your focus as He graciously did mine.

I was a very self-conscious person – possibly because of poverty and bullying in early years.  One day when I was quite young and in elementary school, I invited three girls in for bread and butter sprinkled with sugar (none of which my mother could afford) in the hope that they would play with me.  But they gobbled up the bread and ran off – leaving me alone again.  The next day a couple of kids I didn’t know, came to me in the schoolyard to tell me they heard how awful my house was.  I felt so betrayed by the three bread-eaters and the shame grew.  If I saw neighbour kids skipping, I would offer to turn rope for them without a turn to skip – just so I wouldn’t feel so left out. Sometimes, I would see kids running toward me, calling my name, but not to play with me – just to tell me that my grandfather was again drunk and had fallen.  I would find him lying on the sidewalk, sometimes with his head bleeding and would try to help him up and get him home - - and the shame grew.  As I neared my teens I would talk loudly – hoping someone would notice me.  Of course, I created much annoyance but no acceptance.  I tried to think of funny things to say - - if I could make them laugh, maybe they’d like me.  My one anchor during those years was the most unselfish, uncomplaining, loyal, loving, praying Christian I have ever met – my precious Mother whom I didn’t begin to appreciate back then as I should have, but truly do now.

As I got older, I devised some medications for my pain.  I took a course at a modelling agency to learn how to apply makeup to the best advantage – I bought very attractive business clothes for the office – I tried to create an image of confidence – efficiency and being “really with it”.  But inside I was lonely, sick and hurting.  Even marriage and church involvement didn’t alleviate my inner loneliness but I strived to keep up that image.  Because of a lie someone at church said about me I left the church and went far from God.  After six years of backsliding and fear that I could never be right with God, my heavenly Father lovingly called me home.  Things were better but I was still not in my “promised land”.  Then I realized (through God’s faithful goodness) that I would never get to the promised land until I crossed the Red sea.  Stick with me to find out what that meant for me.

I knew that (John 3:16) God loved the world and that was wonderful because it included everybody.  BUT – BUT- BUT – weren’t we created to need very personal, unconditional love.  We’ve all heard of babies who weaken and die if they don’t get loving touches and hugs.  Did you notice where my focus was in the past?  Accepting (unwittingly) compliments, better jobs, acceptance, etc. as weak, failing, temporary substitutes for the love I so desperately needed.  My passage through the Red Sea to the promised land came from truly grasping, - with a deep-down-inside knowing the vital truth of (Zephaniah 3:17).  Take time to ponder it.

Is God’s focus and reason for love based on what I’ve done – achieved – have – or what I look like?  NO!!!  He never mentions that.  His love is for me, just myself, with no trapping.  God loves, weak – despised – less-than-nothing me with unchanging, unconditional, unending love.  So where is my focus as I now live in the promised land?  Always and only on Jesus.  My one desire is to love, trust and obey Him more deeply every day.  I have learned that the Christian standard of success is always obedience and never results.  Obedience to God always means 100% success.  The results are God’s business – not mine.

In that verse God says He will delight in me and joy over me with singing.  Those words draw a picture in my mind of a mother cuddling her baby to her heart and singing for joy in a baby who has done nothing to deserve it.  I can do nothing to earn God’s constant love for me but I am rock-bottom sure of it.  If I had to describe   the first half of my life in one word, that word would be LONELY.  But now - - my husband went to be with the Lord 3 months ago and certainly I miss him, but God’s Presence is so real to me, I’m never lonely and I’m more thrilled with Jesus every day.  I want to tell you about a bonus freedom, 

Being absolutely secure in God’s sovereign love, and being sheltered (Deuteronomy 33:27) in the arms of God - - I haven’t the slightest interest or concern about anybody’s opinion or acceptance of me.

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