Compared To Everybody Else, I Should Be Fine


                               By Phil Scovell






     Trust in  the LORD with all  thine heart; and lean not  unto thine own
     understanding.

     In  all thy  ways  acknowledge him,  and he  shall  direct thy  paths,
     (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).



          Have you ever sought encouragement  from a friend, or someone you
     highly respect, and all  you received in reply was a  regurgitation of
     this, not  so new, doctrine  that I  call comparative  Theology?   Oh,
     sure.   You know the one I am talking  about.  The standard come back,
     "Things could be worse" syndrome.  How about the, "Look at old brother
     Joe.   Compared to him,  you don't  have any problems  at all."   Then
     there is the one that states, "If you were any  kind of a Christian at
     all, you would be  thankful you aren't as bad off  as sister Calahan."
     The  variations on  this theology is  limitless.   I call  it theology
     because that's  the way  it comes across  when you  get caught  in the
     cross  fire by  Christians who  have achieved  perfection and  have no
     feelings any longer.   The problem with this twisted  form of theology
     is that  it is not  true, it  doesn't work, and  it doesn't help.   In
     fact, you generally feel worse by comparing your situation with others
     around you because they were never meant to be your source; Jesus is.

          Proverbs 3:5-6 is a passage of Scripture I learned as a child.  I
     always hated what I thought it  meant, too, because I could never  fit
     myself into that level of spirituality.  Deep down inside, I also knew
     I would never reach that level of  relationship with God.  Plus, I was
     lousy about comparing myself to  others and focusing on someone else's
     sorrow and sadness.  Yet, I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 and quoted  it to
     myself often.    It rarely  made me  feel any  better but  it was  the
     Christian thing to do because it made you a more spiritual person just
     because you  had memorized it  and just  because you  recited it  from
     memory out loud.  Well, I can't help it, that's what I was taught.

          It should  go without saying,  but I'll say it  anyway, recently,
     things were very  stressful.  As I prayed, Proverbs  3:5-6 kept coming
     to mind.  I said, "Lord?   Please!  I don't think that  is the passage
     that will help me right now.  Do you have any better ones because that
     one never seems  to work for me."   No other passages came  to mind so
     after several days  of being pestered by the Holy Spirit, I decided to
     go and  study the  passage to check  if there  was something  I wasn't
     seeing.


     TRUST

          Believe it  or not, trust doesn't  mean what you think  it means.
     The idea of trusting the Lord always disturbed  me, however, because I
     have been a  Christian for 50  years and I  could never quite get  it.
     This last year, however, the Lord revealed something to me I had never
     recognized.   The word  "trust" in  this passage,  has  even a  deeper
     meaning than just to be able to rely upon the Lord.   It means to have
     security and to feel safe.   Now, there's something you can sink  your
     teeth into and get your own personal theological thoughts around.

          In   recent  months,  the  Lord  also  specifically  answered  my
     questions  about how I go about trusting  Him.  My personal definition
     of trusting the Lord is quite simple because it is based upon what the
     Lord told  me.    It  is  knowing for  certain  God's  Word,  or  more
     specifically, knowing God's voice, which, of course, is His Word.  You
     are going to discover many Christians, some with pretty popular names,
     who believe the first part of my definition but not the second.  These
     will be those who have never bothered reading John Chapter 10 and paid
     attention to what  Jesus said about His  own sheep knowing His  voice.
     Those who have  read it, of course, think He, Jesus, was just speaking
     metaphorically.  Good  old Jesus.  You  can always depend upon  Him to
     muddy  up  the true  meaning  of His  own  Words by  speaking  in word
     pictures that nobody can understand except great Biblical scholars and
     theologians.  A little cynical tongue in cheek there, of course, but I
     tried.

          Years ago, I was sitting in a counselor's office.  In fact it was
     over 25  years ago.   I  was confused about  my Christian  life.   The
     Christianity I had  been raised under wasn't  working so it had  to be
     me,  of course,  and not what  I was  taught.  After  all, that's what
     controlling others is all about.

          My own pastor had come to my home  and told me I was a failure in
     the ministry and  that I simply  didn't know God's  will for my  life.
     There is no  feeling like being pounded  into the ground when  you are
     already hurting  and are at the lowest point of your entire life.  So,
     naturally, I went to a Christian counselor  to find out what was wrong
     with me  because, as great as my pastor was, I knew he was wrong.  You
     would  be  alarmed if  you  knew  how  many  Christians end  up  in  a
     therapist's office after something their pastor said to them.

          I remember  in  one of  our  counseling sessions,  the  Christian
     counselor asking me if I had ever heard the Lord speaking  to me about
     His will for  my life.   The Christian  counselor, by the  way, was  a
     Baptist.   So was I.   I was taught, as  a Baptist, and back  in those
     days,  that  if   you  heard  God  speaking  to   you,  something  was
     psychologically wrong  with your mind.   Only demons spoke  to people;
     not God; surely not God.   I know how stupid that sounds  now but back
     then, it was how I  was taught and it was what  I believed.  I had  to
     admit to this counselor that I had received no such direction from the
     Lord.  I understand now what he was trying to say.

          In  2003, the Lord  spoke to  me one day  as I was  studying some
     intercessory  training prayer  materials.   He  told me  to order  the
     advance  materials so I  could learn more.   I told the  Lord I wasn't
     interested in  doing any advanced learning  in this area but  was only
     interested in doing it for my own personal relationship with him.   He
     insisted I order the advanced materials.  I asked, "why?"

          He  said, "Because  you are  going  to be  working with  sexually
     abused women and people with multiple personality disorders."

          "I said, "What did  you say?"  I explained to the  Lord, I had no
     interest in this area at all.  Furthermore, it had absolutely  nothing
     to do with what I thought  I was supposed to be doing for  the Lord as
     far as full time ministry was concerned.  Yet, His message was clear.

          You should carefully note that  the Lord did not suggest this  to
     me or even say, "I have called you to the ministry."  All He said was,
     "This  is what  you will  be doing."   So  much for  being called  and
     anointed and led by the Lord.  Quite simply, Jesus assigned  me to the
     work He wanted me to do.  By the way, I obeyed His Word.  This was the
     first time I understood what trust was all  about and I didn't like it
     then any more than I do now.

          As  I was  studying  the  advance  training  intercessory  prayer
     materials a  few months later,  I was  sitting on our  deck swing.   I
     decided to  go inside  to get  a drink.   The  split second  I stepped
     through the open doorway leading into the house, I heard in my spirit,
     "This is who you are now."   It was so loud in my  thoughts, it nearly
     made  me  stop dead  in my  tracks.   I  realized I  had moved  into a
     completely different area of my relationship  with the Lord.  I  could
     hear His voice now and His  written Word now made sense to me  in ways
     impossible to  describe.  In short, the Lord  was teaching me to trust
     Him and that is scary when you've  never done it before.  By the  way,
     He teaches us  to trust Him  by revealing Himself to  us in very  deep
     spiritually intimate ways and, yes, it is for every child of God.


     TRUST IN THE LORD

          About  this time, somebody is saying, "Well, dah.  Who else would
     we trust as Christians if it wasn't the Lord?"  Oh, that's an easy one
     to answer.  How about yourself?  The very first person we all trust in
     is  ourself.   Oh,  no self-respecting  spiritual,  born again,  Bible
     toting, church going, Bible thumping, Bible believer  would ever admit
     to such a  thing.  If  they were honest,  however, they would have  to
     admit self  always comes  first.   Except, of course,  those who  have
     learned the hard way and  generally more than once.  We  rarely get it
     the first time.   Take it from me, I know,  because I'm still learning
     this one.   So, the question really  should be, "How  do we trust  the
     Lord?"

          First,  the word  for "Lord,"  you likely  have guessed,  in this
     passage is "Jehovah."  It is spelled that way so it can be pronounced.
     It originally,  as written by  the Jewish translators, had  no vowels.
     This is  due to the  fact that "Jehovah,"  was, and is,  the "Existing
     One," that is to say, the "I am."  Yes, I know "Jehovah" and the words
     "I am" in  Hebrew are different  Hebraic words but  they are the  same
     person.  If you missed it, Jesus and God are the same person.  I don't
     care if you don't like that idea because  your opinion isn't important
     as  far as God is concerned.  This  is why Jesus said, to the Jews who
     were  inquiring as to His  true identity, "Before  Abraham was, I am,"
     (John 8:58).   They disliked this identity  as God so much,  the bible
     says they  took up stones  to kill Him.   How do  we, therefore, react
     when Jesus, The Word, (See John  1:1), says, "But my God shall  supply
     all  your need  according  to His  riches in  glory by  Christ Jesus?"
     (Philippians 4:19).   Do we  take up stones  to cast  at Him or  do we
     believe Him because He is The Word?  Oh, but I thought we trusted him.
     You mean, we don't?  Maybe it's just that we have trouble believing it
     means "us," that is, "we," or those of us who are His own children?

          I got to thinking about this idea of trusting the  Lord recently.
     The only comparison I could settle on was how I trusted my father when
     I was little and growing up.  I always believed  we would have food on
     the table.  I also believed my dad would read Bible stories to us when
     we went to bed each night because he always did.  I never doubted once
     that my dad  would drive  the car  when we went  to church.   I  never
     doubted  the bible was  the most important  thing in my  father's life
     than anything else  in the world.   I never  once doubted he  wouldn't
     lead someone to Christ  if he was  witnessing the Gospel  to them.   I
     never worried about the car having enough  gas in the tank or the lawn
     mower being  out of gasoline when  I went to  mow the grass.   I never
     figured when I got ready for school that I would be without clothes in
     my dresser.  I never  worried about having shoes for my feet.   I knew
     if the light went out in my room, dad would get a new bulb and replace
     it.   I knew  when the house needed  painting, dad would  do it.  Why?
     First, he was my  father.  Secondly, he did the things  for me I could
     not  do for  myself.  Oh,  but you  say, "I can  work and  make my own
     money.  I pay for the food we eat.  I buy our clothes.  I pay to  send
     my  kids to  Christian school."   Woe horse!   You  can't even  take a
     breath without the  Father God.  Jesus  said, "Without me, you  can do
     nothing,"(John 15:5).   So don't give  me this bilge of  garbage about
     what you  can do  for yourself because  Jesus isn't  buying it.   "But
     doesn't God expect  us to do  things for ourselves?"   Listen, if  you
     don't have  horse sense,  you are  unstable.   Pun intended.   If  you
     think, on the  other hand, these are  things you are  doing, underline
     the word you,  you have the wrong  concept of Lordship salvation.   Go
     ahead  and work for yourself.  Jesus will let you carry all that heavy
     burden all by your lonesome until you drop from exhaustion.   When the
     wheels  come  off  your  life,  and  the  bottom  false  out  of  your
     relationship with God, and when  your train jumps the tracks,  and you
     crash and burn, it won't  be His fault because He said,  "My burden is
     light," (Matthew 11:30).   The good news is, when you  crash and burn,
     He'll  be there to lift you up and  to rebuild your life.  Now there's
     an aspect of Christian growth most preachers fail to teach.

          One  day I  was working  in my  office doing high  speed cassette
     duplication for a  customer.  I was  praying, more to myself  than the
     Lord since my  prayer had taken  the form  of complaining rather  than
     petitioning, and  I said, "Lord?   I  just can't  carry these  burdens
     because they  are too heavy for  me."  As clear  as a bell, I  heard a
     voice inside of me say, "Then they  aren't mine."  I suddenly realized
     I was carrying  all my own burdens  and thus, they weren't  being cast
     upon the Lord for Him  to manage.  So, as I  said, go ahead.  Work  on
     your own  salvation all you want.   Develop that relationship with the
     Lord by  adding up everything  on your "Do  Gooders" list until  its a
     mile long.  Count  up all the things  you've done to prove  you indeed
     love God.   Subtract all the things  you don't do because  they aren't
     Godly.  Wave your Sunday  school pin under God's nose and show Him how
     you haven't missed Sunday school for the last 28 years.  Point to your
     bible college and seminary  degree to make  sure Jesus knows you  done
     graduated.   Flash your  ordination certificate around  and see  if He
     notices.   Tote that big large print King  James bible around with you
     so everybody knows  just how Godly you  are.  Don't forget  your tithe
     and your missionary offering and  your building fund offering, and all
     you,  and your church,  do for  the poor.   Don't forget  to toss your
     prayer life in on top of the whole thing, too, and whatever you do, if
     you are  going to work  it all out on  your own, don't  forget all the
     people you've won to Christ.  That impresses Jesus the most because He
     really needs you and without  you, He can do nothing.   Isn't that how
     we think the verse really  reads?  Once you run out of  things to list
     to make  yourself feel  Godly, as  I did  one day  sitting in a  hotel
     waiting for  the pastor to  pick me up  for the revival meeting  I was
     supposed to be preaching  in his church that  night, you will  realize
     that your life is over.  That's right, I said, your life will be over.
     The  life of  Jesus as  Lord  will then,  and only  then, begin  to be
     manifest in your life  and not one second sooner.   Put a match to  it
     and as they say, "As you burn for Jesus, people will come to watch."


     WITH ALL YOUR HEART

          It doesn't take much to recognize the meaning of this part of the
     passage.  Of course  the Lord wants all of  what we have as a  person,
     that is, our heart.  In context, this "heart" isn't the physical organ
     that pumps  blood throughout the  body but  the real person,  the real
     you, in other words.  Let me show you what I mean.

     "14  For this cause I  bow my knees unto the Father of  our Lord Jesus
     Christ, 15  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  16
     That he would grant you, according  to the riches of his glory,  to be
     strengthened with  might by  his Spirit  in the  inner man;  17   That
     Christ may dwell  in your hearts by  faith; that ye, being  rooted and
     grounded  in love, 18  May be able  to comprehend with all saints what
     is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19  And to know the
     love of Christ, which  passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with
     all the  fullness of  God.   20   Now  unto  him that  is able  to  do
     exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or  think, according to the
     power that worketh  in us,  21   Unto him be  glory in  the church  by
     Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen,"
     (Ephesians 3:14-21).

          There is another  very interesting passage that I  would guess is
     not  often  considered   when  we  think  about  who   we  really  are
     spiritually.

     "1  Likewise, ye wives, be  in subjection to your own husbands;  that,
     if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the
     conversation  of  the  wives;  2     While  they  behold  your  chaste
     conversation coupled with fear.  3  Whose adorning let it not be  that
     outward adorning  of plaiting the hair, and of  wearing of gold, or of
     putting  on of apparel; 4  But let  it be the hidden man of the heart,
     in  that which  is not corruptible,  even the  ornament of a  meek and
     quiet spirit, which is in the sight  of God of great price," (1  Peter
     3:1-4).

          What would be your guess as to the meaning of, "the hidden man of
     the heart?"  Oh,  by the way, the  word for "man" in both  Ephesians 3
     and 1 Peter 3 is the generic usage of the word.  That  is, it can mean
     man or  woman.  The "inner man"  and the "hidden man of  the heart" is
     the real you.  Simply stated, if  you die, your spirit instantly is in
     Heaven with  the Lord, (See  2 Corinthians 5:8).   What is  left, your
     body, we bury.   So, your spirit is what is born  again, or born anew,
     or  is created to be compatible with that  of the nature of God.  Thus
     it is   the Holy  Spirit can indwell  your spirit, (see  Romans 8:9, 2
     Corinthians 5:17, and Ephesians 1:13).


     AND LEAN NOT UNTO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING

          The word for "lean" simply means (to support oneself).  The basic
     meaning of  the word  "understanding" is discernment.   So,  it simply
     means, don't just trust  your own feelings, ideas,  creativity, logic,
     or human reasoning.  Why not?   Because you might discover you  aren't
     as smart as you think.  Let me illustrate what I mean.

          I trust one of my  older sisters won't ever read this  but she is
     about 11 years older so when this happened, she was probably 14 or  15
     years of age.  That would have made me about 3 or 4 years of age.

          Our dad had  been painting the living  room.  Our upstairs  was a
     finished off attic with two bedrooms.   When you opened the closets to
     hang your close  up, the steep slanting roof was right there to touch.
     We  had no heat  and no air  conditioning upstairs.   The bathroom was
     also upstairs.    In each  bedroom was  a  floor vent.    They were  a
     rectangular  shape about 2 feet  long by 1 foot wide.   The secret was
     gravity.   According to physics,  heat rises but whoever  came up with
     that  law never slept in my bedroom, that's  for sure.  Anyhow, I used
     to  love going  into my  two older  sisters  bedroom and  looking down
     through the vent  to the living  room.  I would  find small pieces  of
     paper, marbles, bobby pens, clothes pens, rubber bands, and just about
     anything else close at hand  to drop down the vent and watch them fall
     into the living room.

          Well, as I said,  dad was painting the living room.   When he got
     to the  ceiling, he unscrewed the bottom half of  the vent so he could
     paint the  ceiling without  the vent  getting in  the way.   This  was
     great.  I went upstairs one night and pulled  off the upstairs vent in
     my sisters  room.  Now I could not only  see down into the living room
     without any blockage but I could toss  all types of larger things down
     the big whole.  I had one problem, the upstairs vent was too heavy for
     me to  pull back into  place.  I tried  and tried but  couldn't get it
     back into the  whole.  So  I pushed it  as far away  from the hole  as
     possible so no one would  see what I had done.  I then took one of the
     throw  rugs  in my  sister's  room  and  covered  the  hole  and  went
     downstairs.

          Later that evening, we were all in the living room.  I believe we
     had some  friends over, too.   I know we were not  watching TV because
     our TV was in the dinning room  and besides, we couldn't watch it when
     company  was over anyhow.  My sister  announced she was going upstairs
     and left the  room.   Moments later,  there was this  god awful  blood
     curdling scream the came from upstairs and before the scream could die
     away, this bare, pure white leg, shoeless, came snaking down  into the
     living room from the whole in the ceiling.  It thrashed around wildly,
     like a striking snake, as the  screaming continued.  My dad jumped  up
     and ran upstairs to lift Saundra  out of the whole because she had  no
     way of pulling herself up.  Staring at  the wildly kicking bare leg, I
     thought to myself,  "I am going to get the worst  whipping I have ever
     experienced  over this  one."   Fortunately,  for me,  my mother,  and
     everyone else, including my dad, thought the whole thing was so funny,
     I was totally  forgotten.  My oldest  sister hates this story  to this
     day but I love telling it since I never got punished for it.

          Now, what does  this story have to  do with "leaning on  your own
     understanding?"   Well, my sister, God bless her, had been trusting on
     the strength of  that vent  for years.   It had  always supported  her
     weight, regardless of how many times she stepped on it, as she entered
     her bedroom.   Her trust  was, therefore,  complete and  it had  never
     failed her before.

          Circumstances  have a strange  way of  suddenly changing  and not
     always for the  better.  As a  Christian, what happens?   Normally, we
     immediately dive for  cover, or run out  and get an extra  job pumping
     gas, or  call a rich friend or relative to borrow some money, or maybe
     we call the  bank, whip out  the credit card  for groceries, Call  the
     doctor for  medication, and sometimes  we might even call  the pastor.
     Of course, all he can do is pray and his prayers have never seemed  to
     work for you before, so why bother him now.   Besides, he doesn't even
     care for you in the first place and  beyond that, he is worse off than
     you are  right now.   In our passage under  consideration, however, we
     are  told not to  lean on our own  understanding.  Why  not?  Well, as
     with my sister,  your understanding may not be quite the same as God's
     in  that given situation.   It is  best, therefore, to  check with the
     Lord first.  Let me expand further.

          Many years ago, when our three children were smaller, we had just
     left the Baptist church.  We had to leave or we would  have been asked
     to leave.  Why?  I spoke in tongues now and I knew somebody would find
     out eventually.   When they did, I'd  be out.  In fact,  when they did
     find out,  although it  was six  months after  we had  left the  large
     Baptist church we  attended before anybody seemed to  notice, my three
     children,  who still  went  to their  Baptist  Christian school,  were
     denied scholarships because, we  were told, we were  Charismatics now.
     That's the truth; believe it or not.

          During that  winter, my  daughter  became ill.   I  had seen  our
     children miraculously  healed at  different times  and been  instantly
     healed myself a couple of times.  I was confused concerning what to do
     for her at  this particular point for some reason.   I had prayed over
     her but she hadn't gotten better and her throat was getting worse.  As
     I  walked into my bedroom to  get something I needed  out of a dresser
     drawer, I prayed silently and  said, "Lord?  I don't know what  to do.
     What should I do now?"

          The answer came back instantly, "Take her to the doctor."

          We did and it was strep.  Now  you want to know, would I have not
     taken  her to the doctor if the Lord had  told me to keep her home?  I
     don't know.  When it comes to children and their well being, well, you
     can figure what I  would have done and that is I  would have taken her
     to  the doctor any way.  Why?   Because I don't believe?  Yes, at that
     time, such would have been the case.


     IN ALL THY WAYS

          This  may be difficult  to believe  but the  phrase, "in  all thy
     ways," is  a single Hebrew word  which means (in  all your ways).   No
     fooling.  It has more  meaning such as your  journey in life, a  path,
     and a road, but "in all thy ways," covers it pretty well.

          We have trouble believing this truth, however, because it doesn't
     always seem possible.   How could God  be interested in all  our ways?
     In fact,  there are some of  my ways I  don't want Him to  know about.
     Sorry, He knows about them all and He wants to help you with all those
     ways, too.

          I want you to take another look at the phrase, "In all thy ways."
     Whose ways?   Shouldn't it read, "In  all of God's ways?"   I mean, we
     are supposed to be believing and following Jesus.  At least that's the
     way I heard it taught.  So what's the bit about "our ways?"

          Years ago I was preaching a week  of special meetings in Montana.
     We were staying with a couple our own age at the time.  Sandy was with
     me  and our first son had been born but  he was still an infant.  As I
     mentioned, we were  all about the same age, in our mid twenties, so we
     decided  that we  would stay  a  second week  and just  have  a little
     vacation with these  folks.  They  were delighted and  we had a  great
     time on the ranch.

          Jimmy, that was the rancher's name, had  a great deal of land and
     raise  cows and calves.   Thus, he was  on the back  of a horse nearly
     ever day.

          For the first couple of  days, he would tie  a lead rope from  my
     horse to his but after those firs couple of trips out to the range, he
     asked  me if I  wanted to  ride by myself  without being roped  to his
     horse.   I said, sure, and told him that as long as we talked, I would
     always have a point of reference.   Hence, I'd know where I was going.
     I told him  I didn't want  to jump over  any fences or  leap over  any
     creeks without at  least knowing about it ahead of time, if you get my
     meaning.  Jimmy laughed.  We got along just fine.

          One day, we  were out  riding among  the cows  because Jimmy  had
     noticed a cow the had dropped a calf but she didn't seem to know where
     it was.  When I asked him why, he said that he had  found a blind calf
     roaming around  balling for its mother.   He brought  the blind animal
     into his corral the day before and now he was hunting for  the mother.
     I said, "Jimmy, how,  out of 150 cows,  are you going to tell  who the
     mother is?"

          He  said, "Well it's hard  to explain but  she'll just be roaming
     around acting like she can't find her way or something."

          "I doubted seriously,  being the skilled  cowboy wrangler that  I
     was, he'd ever find the mother.  He did.

          We  talked  as we  rode  but I  could  tell Jimmy  was  trying to
     concentrate on  the beeves,  because his voice  was often  turned away
     from me when he talked.  Sometimes  he never answered me at all.   So,
     again, being  the skill horseman that I was, I  decided just to let my
     horse drift back a few yards and I would focus on Jimmy's horse.  That
     way, Jimmy  could  focus on  the  task of  finding  the mother  and  I
     wouldn't be bothering him.  So,  I followed along casually behind  him
     as I listened to the herd as they moved slowly around us.

          About 15 minutes passed when I heard this tiny small voice so far
     away, I wasn't  even certain  it was  a voice.   The  faint voice  was
     saying as loud as he could, "Hey Phil.  Ride down this way."

          I kicked my horse into a little trot, and a  few moments later, I
     rode up to where Jimmy was now laughing.  "What's so funny?" I asked.

          "What were you doing over there?" he asked.

          "I thought  I  was following  you.   I knew  you were  busy so  I
     thought I'd just hang back and listen to your horse and follow you."

          Jimmy laughed.   "You were following a cow,  my friend," he belly
     laughed again.

          "Some horse you got  here I'm riding," I huffed.   "He don't even
     know the difference between a horse and a cow," but we both got a good
     laugh out of it.

          The point  of this story  is simple.   I was on  my own path,  or
     trail, sort of speak, but my friend eventually directed me to where he
     was.   Jesus does the  same thing.   In  fact, if you  think about  it
     carefully, you are going to learn something about Jesus you never knew
     before and that is,  Jesus wants to  do what you want  to do.   "Prove
     it," you say?  I  thought I just did.  "In all your ways?"  Isn't that
     what it says?  You need  more proof?  Ok, let me quote  to you another
     passage of Scripture.

     "7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask 
           what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
     8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so 
           shall ye be my disciples," John 15:7-8).

          I grew  up being taught that this passage  of Scripture had to do
     with evangelism,  that is, winning,  or bringing, the lost  to Christ.
     You can apply  it to that topic  but you cannot interpret  the passage
     that way.    The passage,  in its  context, is  clearly talking  about
     prayer and nothing else.

          Let's clear up  a couple of confusing parts of this passage right
     up front.   We have already cleared up  one and that is  the topic, or
     subject, of the  passage being about prayer.   Generally however, this
     passage is taught to be conditional.  I agree.  However, the condition
     isn't what most think.  I am  referring to the initial statements, "If
     you abide  in me and my Words  abide in you."  If  you are born again,
     the Holy  Spirit already  dwells within you,  (See Romans  8:16-17 and
     Ephesians 1:13).  The Bible confirms that Jesus is the Word, See (John
     1:1), and we are already "in  Christ," (See First John 4:15).   So, in
     truth, we are already abiding in Him and His Words abide in us.

          Now,  in  case you  have  never  heard this  before,  in the  New
     Testament, we have two distinctly  different terms rendered "Word."  I
     have already referred to John 1:1 a couple  of times in this study but
     here is  an excellent place  to quote it.   "In the  beginning was the
     Word, and the Word  was with God,  and the Word was  God.)  The  Greek
     term for "Word"  in this little verse  is (Logos).  However,  the term
     used for "Words" in John  15:7 where Jesus said, "If you abide  in me,
     and  my Words abide in you,"  is the Greek term  Rhema.  Yes, the King
     James  translators used the  same English word  in both  cases but the
     Greek words have different meanings.  "Logos" takes on the  meaning of
     the totality of the spoken Word.  As just quoted, Jesus is also called
     "The  Word of God."   He is, therefore, the totality  of God and God's
     Word."   Why?  Because Jesus and God are one, that is, the same person
     yet uniquely different.

          The Greek word for "Rhema"  is a specific term, that is,  as in a
     stated  promise.  "Logos"  is the Word.   For example,  when Jesus was
     Baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove,
     God the  Father spoke from  Heaven so  it could be  heard by those  on
     earth, "This is  my beloved son, in  whom I am well  pleased," Matthew
     3:17).  This statement is the Word;  the Word of God.  "Rhema," on the
     other hand,  is a statement  in the form of  a promise.   Since we are
     discussing  John 15:7-8 concerning  prayer, we couldn't  find a better
     illustration  of a stated  promise.   It is the  Word of God  but with
     specific intent, that is, a promise.

          Let's bring it  right down to  where we live.   "I wear a  cowboy
     hat," is a statement, that is, my word of acknowledgement.  It carries
     with it information.  When I say, "I am going to give you my hat right
     now," that is  a fulfilling promise  which is being  carried out as  I
     speak.  If I said, "I am going to give you my hat tomorrow," you would
     have a  promise that is being fulfilled in  time but you could believe
     it  now because you know me and you know  I keep my word.  That is the
     difference between logos and  rhema.  By the way, I  am not giving you
     my hat because  I know you wouldn't wear  it even if I did  give it to
     you.

          The rest  of John  15:7-8 says, "Herein  is my  Father glorified,
     that ye bear much fruit; so 
           shall ye be my disciples."   This statement further confirms the
     promise that  God not  only wants to  answer your  prayers, but  He is
     glorified,  that is, He is happy to do  so based upon "what you will,"
     or, based upon what you are asking of Him.

          Now, if you have forgotten what we were talking about, don't feel
     bad.  I am just trying to point out that God wants to do what you want
     to do.   If you are  unable to see  that from just these  two passages
     alone, you  need to read and pray about it until you do understand it.
     This  Biblical  principle  is absolutely  paramount  in  your personal
     relationship with Jesus Christ.


     ACKNOWLEDGE HIM

     "Trust  in the LORD with all thine heart;  and lean not unto thine own
     understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him..."

          Some of  you  are going  to have  trouble with  this  one.   Why?
     Because you  aren't going to believe it.   You aren't going to believe
     it because you aren't going to like it.

          The word for "acknowledge Him," in this part of the passage  is a
     Hebrew word which is (yada).  You likely recognize this words since it
     is used  by so many today.  For example, Some will say, "I went to the
     library, the grocery store, the shoe store, and yada, yada, yada."

          The word  "yada" is  found hundreds of  times throughout  the Old
     Testament.  It  is easiest  to understand  from Genesis  4:1 where  it
     says, "Adam KNEW his wife Eve  and she conceived."  That's right.   It
     is the word  meaning sexual intercourse.  I told you that you wouldn't
     like it.  If God is using such a powerful word to describe the type of
     relationship He wants us to have with Him, the question has got to be,
     do you have that type of spiritual intimacy with God?

          It should be  obvious that this is  a word picture.   It has been
     used  divinely, on  the other  hand, to focus  on the  seriousness and
     sincerity   of   the   Lord's  instructions   concerning   every   day
     circumstances.  The application  is what is confusing to most.   In my
     experience,  I find  precious  few believers  that  can even  remotely
     conceive of the idea the God loves them that much that He  wants to do
     whatever they want to do.


     DIRECT

          The  part of  our passage which  says, "And  He shall  direct thy
     paths," is literally a reference to making our paths straight.  We may
     be drifting,  leaning off  center, feel unbalanced,  and like  we have
     been walking the  wrong way all together.   Jesus, on the  other hand,
     knows where we are and He is right with us no matter what is happening
     at any given time.

          One of  my cousins, many years ago, told  me this story about his
     cross country trucking days.  He said  he and his partner were driving
     through a hard  rain.  They been  on the road for many  hours and were
     tired.  Although they were running slower than normal due to  the hard
     down pour, and  although my cousin,  who wasn't driving  at the  time,
     noticed  all the road construction equipment parked on the side of the
     road,  he and his  partner thought nothing  about it.   They were just
     trying to keep the truck on the road.

          Suddenly, and  without warning, the  truck jumped off the  end of
     the asphalt and began slipping and sliding on the unfinished road  bed
     that was  now mud.   He  said that  it took  them a  mile before  they
     finally  got the truck  stopped but at  least it didn't  jack knife or
     slip off the road bed.

          Considering their situation,  they knew they only had  one way to
     get back  to where they  had been.  That  was by standing  outside the
     truck cab  on the  running boards, and  with their doors  opened, they
     both faced back toward the trailer and called direction back and forth
     through  the  open cab  as  they slowly  man handled  the  big machine
     backwards in the mud, the night, and the rain.

          A couple  of hours later, they finally slowly backed the truck up
     on to  the solid road.   They  jumped down and  walked all  around the
     truck to inspect it  for damage.  There was none  but the entire truck
     was caked in  mud.   They backed  the truck further  down the  asphalt
     until they found a side road, and got the truck turned around and went
     on their way.  They had missed the  detour sign a few miles further up
     the  road and  that's how  they had  gotten themselves into  an almost
     impossible situation.

          I  often think of this  story when I  feel like I  have missed it
     somehow.  I have lost track of all the times in my fifty years plus of
     walking  with the Lord that I have felt  I was lost and on totally the
     wrong road  of life.   Yet, the Lord  promises to  make all our  paths
     straight.    He  can correct  being  on  the road  path  if  we simply
     acknowledge Him in all our ways.

          Many years  ago, I was  a youth pastor  in western Colorado  in a
     small town church.   For awhile I practiced going to sleep at night by
     meditating on a picture of walking down a road all alone.  Green grass
     filled the eye as far  as one could see to either side of the road.  I
     felt peaceful  and eventually  drifted off to  sleep thinking  in this
     manner.

          One night, however, the picture  unexpectedly changed.  I came to
     the  end  of  the road.    I  have  written about  it  and  called the
     testimony, "Road's End."  As I stood, in my mind's eye, looking at the
     end  of the  road,  I saw  nothing but  a continuous  green field.   I
     finally decided  this was a  test and that  the road likely  continued
     just beyond the next hill.  I stepped out and walked to the top of the
     first green hill.  The road wasn't  ahead as I had expected.  I walked
     to the next hill, and the next,  and the next, but no road was  found.
     A voice kept yelling in my  ears, "Go back," but I pushed on.   I knew
     the road  had to  be just  on the  other side  of the  next hill.   It
     wasn't.   Eventually I  became hopelessly  lost.   Needless to say,  I
     stopped thinking of  this mental picture because it no  longer gave me
     comfort and kept me awake instead of putting me to sleep.

          Later,  many years later, I  realized that Jesus  was with me all
     the time although I  was off the road and felt lost.   All I need have
     done was look up.


     AND HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS

          In has only been  in recent times I recognized the true spiritual
     impact of this promise.   They are "my  paths."  All my life,  I lived
     attempting to please God by doing  His will and seeking to walk  where
     He wanted me to  be.  I always felt I was screwing  up and missing the
     road and it  seemed like I was  being robbed again and  again of being
     where I wanted to be so desperately.   Then one day it dawned me  that
     they were, as I said,  "My Paths."  I don't  worry nearly as much  now
     about where  I am  in life because  as long as  I am walking  with the
     Lord, we are  together and He will straighten out the mistakes I make.
     In short,  Jesus wants  to do what  you want  to do.   I trust  I have
     proved this to your satisfaction by now.


     CONCLUSION

          In  reality, as  Born Again  Christians, we  don't have  to worry
     about where  we think  we might  be in  Christ  because Jesus  already
     knows.  All  He requires is acknowledgement.  That simple act alone is
     spiritual intimacy with God.  You don't have to work at  it because He
     has already completed  all that work  in our  behalf.  What  do we  do
     then?  Good question.  The answer is simple.  We live in Him.


     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone
     WWW.SafePlaceFellowship.COM

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