Friday, June 16, 2006

How to Live in the 'Day of Small Things'.

"For Who Hath Despised the Day of Small Things?" - Zechariah 4:10.

I got up this morning with every intention of continuing with my series on the Holy Spirit. But something was different. I just felt ... weak. Nothing had changed. That email I was hoping that would change my life wasn't there and my inbox was full of junk as usual. The letter I was longing for that would bring commission to my life wasn't there and it was just ... bills - as usual. God didn't meet me in power in my time with Him - it was silence from heaven. But as I was driving into work, a thought occured to me. It's very easy to have faith in God and believe in Him and walk with Him when He is manifest in power. What about the day of small things? Could it be that Zechariah is talking about me? In that case, what can I learn and do in the day of small things so that I do not waste it while waiting and praying for God to manifest Himself in reviving power? Here's some characterics that occured to me that one can pursue:

1. Joyful Hope.

Keathey defines hope as; "Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both". He said that hope is never a static or passive thing rather a dynamic, active and life-sustaining thing! I have been playing the beautiful song from Stoneleigh 2000 which carries the line; "Fill my gaze with things as yet unseen - give me faith to move in works of power". Hope for what?

Simon Petit preached a marvellous sermon at Stoneleigh 2000 and said; "Our hope is this - there are many prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled!". The Word of God is full of promises that are yet to be fulfilled. How about hope in this promise; "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts" - Haggai 2:9. Or my favourite verse in the Bible; "For as surely as I live all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord!".

2. Patient Submission.

The word 'submission' is usually used in the context of biblical manhood and womanhood. I wonder if those complementarians who so vigorously champion their cause are prepared to submit in the manner they expect their womenfolk to, after the example of the Lord? In the Garden of Gethsemane, when He knew perfectly well the horrors of the Cross that awaited Him, He could still say "Not My will but Thine". Can we do that? Are we prepared to sacrifice the deepest desires of our hearts and say "Not my will"?

It is easy to say yes to that if the cost is not high. But what about if it concerns our own persecution ... or dare I say it martyrdom? Can we say then, "Not my will but thine?". I am constantly amazed by the all encompassing peace that pervades the Word of God.

"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" - Job 13:15.

3. Bold Faith.

To conclude, it is important to note that verse from Job doesn't finish there! It goes on; "Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him". It seems to me that the trend in churches today tends to follow the famous text in Joel. Young men see visions (Joyful Hope) and old men dream dreams (Patient submission). I was told by an elder in my home church that I would grow up one day and "calm down". I still don't think that's biblical. I would argue that there is a third and unifying characteristic that can be ours in the day of small things.

"But he said, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me" - Genesis 32:26.

There is, what Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones called, "daring faith". It was this daring faith that drove Moses to intercede before God and intercede until he said, "Show me Your glory". Tomorrow I am going to move on to examine the link between the Holy Spirit and rivers ... a famous charismatic picture! Rivers are found in Ezekiel 47 and I would argue that it was daring faith that drove the man to move deeper into the river, and just as similarly it is daring faith that will drive us to move deeper from glory to glory in our experience of the Holy Spirit and our relationship with God. God Himself said it!

"Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know" - Jeremiah 33:3.


apwbd said...

It is very intersting that we are commanded in the scripture not to despise the day of small things, but we are not commanded to settle for it.

One thing the Lord wants us to avoid is an impatient frustration. The day of small things is still God's day. The Lord is still at work. Souls are still being saved, people are still growing in the Lord, some are being baptised in the Holy Spirt, churches are being planted etc. Its hard, yes, revival hasn't come yet, but God is at work.

The three points you make are key. Hope, submission (and patience I would suggest - God remains sovereign), and faith. The day of small things makes me thankful, but it also makes my hungry - we must not settle.

And also the day of small things is a precursor to the day of large things. In Zech 4 it seemed such a day of small things in that the second temple being built at that time appeared so insignificant compared to Solomon's temple. But it was still God's work and it was over that temple that God promised "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that glory of the former." (Hag 2v9).

So if small things are happening now, that means great things are coming! Bring it on!

James Fletcher Baxter said...

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV


Baxter's Boy said...

Thanks so much for the material you have written here Bro James, and for the link to your website! It is great to hear from you, and to come across your writings!

James b said...

That's a helpful reminder abwpd ... what DOES that stand for?! ... "the day of small things is still God's day".

Lets not be deceived by the devil that the day of small things is a day when God hasn't shown up yet.