Thirty Six

This is the number of states we’ve crossed for the sake of the Cross of Christ. This number I cannot boast in nor can I glory in. Often we contemplate how to make a better future for ourselves, for our children or for someone close to us. We can at times look to our past so as not to repeat mistakes but learn from them. Other times we gleam from success and try to duplicate those methodologies. Well I am here to share with you that no matter the number nor the process, don’t forget to acknowledge and know God through it all. Glorify Him with what has done in our lives glory for every single little thing and for every single person He has used in our life that we might trust Him more and more. Bring into view before you today and reflect on what HE has done in your life.

Taking into acquisition the (P.R.O.O.F.) practical realities of our faith respects the truth that certain Biblical abilities can only be acquired by extensive training on the battlefield. Let me ask you a question, How can we wield our weapon (God’s Word) unless we train with it? Let me share with you a description from one of my Study Bibles about the book of James:

“Faith without works cannot be called faith. ‘Faith without works is dead.’ (James 2:26), and a dead faith is worse than no faith at all. Faith must work, it must produce, it must be visible. Verbal faith is not enough; mental faith is insufficient. Faith must be there, but it must be more. It must inspire action. Throughout his epistle to Jewish believers, James integrates true faith and everyday practical experience by stressing that true faith must manifest itself in works of faith.

Faith endures trials. Trials come and go, but a strong faith will face them head-on and develop endurance. Faith understands temptations. It will not allow us to consent to our lust and slide into sin. Faith obeys the Word. It will not merely hear and not do. Faith produces doers. Faith does not harbor prejudice or show partiality. For James, faith and favoritism cannot coexist. Faith displays itself in works. Faith is more than mere words; it is more than knowledge; it is demonstrated by obedience; and it clearly responds to the promises of God. Faith controls the tongue. This small but immensely powerful part of the body must be held in check. Faith can do it. Faith acks wisely. It gives us the ability to choose wisdom that is from heaven and to shun wisdom that is earthly and demonic. Faith produces separation from the world and submission to God. It provides us with the ability to resist the Devil and humbly draw near to God. Finally, faith waits patiently for the coming of the Lord. Through trouble and trial it suffocates complaining.

From Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible, copyright © 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

Listen, when we don’t follow God’s ways, we detest our days. When we fail to study to show ourselves approved unto God alone according to 2 Timothy 2:15, we become like the unbelieving Jews, who refuse and confuse God’s views.

Take King Solomon from the perspective of 1 Kings 11:1-8. He committed adultery (vs. 1-2) and did not repent. His heart had turned away from the living God (vs. 3) thus became disloyal to the Lord God (vs. 4) resulting in Solomon worshiping other Gods (vs. 5-8). After Solomon’s treachery, God spoke to him in verses 11-13 of 1 Kings 11. Let us just focus on verse 11, “Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, ‘because you have done this and have not kept My covenant and My statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.’”

What’s fascinating is how King Solomon arrived in this predicament. He was given everything he would ever need for satisfaction and fulfillment. You see, God’s good gifts were given to him with the intention of governing the people of Israel (1 Kings 3:6-14), yet he used these gifts for his own gain and pleasure. Here’s the P.R.O.O.F. (practical reality of our faith-pertaining to Solomon): In Ecclesiastes 2:10 Solomon says, “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.”

There is overwhelming evidence that King Solomon was a very popular man. He spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). He had his instant gratification BUT was never actually satisfied. His wisdom, wealth, influence, power and possessions where known all throughout the world. 1 Kings 4:34 says, “And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” And yet he says in Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.”

I hope you get this picture of who God made King Solomon to be and what Solomon did with such makings. He turned against God with them and became consumed with pleasing only himself and only entertaining himself for he became wise in his own yes. His administration and stewardship of God’s gifts became corrupted and perverted because of His hedonistic desires and his tainted perspective on life. He lost his way, strayed away and did not keep his faith solely in the Lord.

Personally for me, King Solomon has so much to do with the 36 states of America that God has taken my family through-that I remember the Creator of my youth and glory only in Him. God wrote through King David in Psalm 5:5 where we read that any one who may boast in themselves cannot stand before the presence of the Almighty. Furthermore, God through Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11 & 12 about his sufferings and sorrows resulting in sharing Salvation with all who would hear everywhere he went.

I incorporate all of this to make known that with the accomplishments of Solomon and of Paul, we see two different hearts. God made both great, yet one (Solomon) glorified himself and the other (Paul) glorified God. When God sets His plan in motion, no man can change it (Job 42:2). So we look at these two hearts where God had favor and discover that it was in the trenches of their lives where their true colors emerged.

God through Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings of the Gospel, so we speak not to please men but to please God, Who tests our hearts expecting them to be approved.” For us to not be tested and tried that we might be found genuine in our faith is to not be loved by God. The disciple of Christ loves instruction, correction and knowledge. This disciple lives with a devoted allegiance to the teachings of Christ as their Master. Pleasing God means we are able to do nothing independently of our own accord but only as we are taught by God and as we receive His orders. I’m not talking Calvinism here but merited obedience.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we must mind what we are doing. For to draw near to hear the commands of the Lord that we might obey them is so much better than to just give “alms” in ignorance. Consider your purpose, contemplate your motives, evaluate your achievements and examine what your giving your attention to accomplish. Some people have already chosen that it’s evil to serve the Lord and others have already chosen that it is good to serve the Lord. Meditate on this day to see what resides inside your heart. For remember history always repeats itself and when God through Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 He meant it. Here’s where I leave you and let us walk worthy in all the wisdom of God:

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

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