You (alone), Lord, are my (assigned) portion (inheritance), my cup; you control (hold and contain) (guard) my destiny (my lot, all that is mine).
The property lines have fallen beautifully for me (have fallen for me in pleasant places); yes, I have a lovely (good, wonderful) home (heritage, inheritance), (I am well content with my inheritance).

-Psalm 16:5-6 CEB (AMP, NLT, NEB) 
When you hear the word inheritance, do you think of money or land?  Do you think of the family business?  Or do you experience anguish and loss?  Maybe inheritance, to you, is something experienced by other people, perhaps by rich people.  It hasn't happened for you.  Maybe there was none or someone else took yours.

David, son of Jesse, as the younger brother, might have had no inheritance coming from his parents.  But David had a revelation of a deeper and wider inheritance, that is available to all God's children.  If you are God's child, God is your inheritance.  God's resources are unlimited.  The amount you receive depends on you.  

Years ago, I heard these verses mentioned in a sermon by a man who had moved his family many times, to plant churches.  I assumed that he was saying how much he liked where he was now living and is content.  But, since then, he has moved and changed jobs at least three times.

What he was talking about, was God and God alone in his life.  Everything we need is in God.  That is contentment.  The world is always discontent.  We want what other people have.  We think that houses, cars, jobs or positions, and status will bring happiness and they do not.

We need to want more of God.  God's resources are unlimited.  If you want something someone else has, then want their walk with God, their experience of knowing God's love.  Only that will satisfy.

God is our inheritance and everything we need comes from God, and only God can satisfy our deepest longings.  God also has a destiny for each one of us.  God has a lot for each one.  God's lot for you is better than what you could have come up with.

Our job is to recognize what our particular inheritance is.  Our quest is to let God transform us into the person he wants us to be, so that we can receive and lay hold of our inheritance.

The Signal: The Ensign of God

On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples.  The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious.
On that day, the Lord will extend his hand a second time to reclaim the survivors of God’s people who are left from Assyria and from Egypt, from Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
God will raise a signal for the nations and gather the outcast men of Israel.  God will collect the dispersed women of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
-Isaiah 11:10-12

There is going to be great clarity in the earth about salvation.

The earth will be like a valley of battle for the souls of humankind.  Up on a mountain or high hill, there is a rallying banner or ensign, that serves as a signal.  That banner or signal is Christ.

Christ, The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the root of Jesse; is the banner, the signal, the ensign of God, beckoning humankind to salvation.

We know that salvation is through Jesus, but somehow that simple message has not gotten through to the whole earth, but that is going to change.

It's like the signal is going to change.  People have been looking for the way, the green light to go to God.  They have only seen red, but that is about to change.  People who's deepest desire is to find the way have not found it, but it is going to be made clear.  The people will see Jesus as the way and will rush towards him.

The word that most modern translations render as "signal", was translated as "ensign" in the King James and Revised Standard Versions.  The Hebrew word is "nace", which means a flag, sail, or flagstaff; a signal, a banner, pole, ensign, or standard.  It is something that gleams from afar.  It is something conspicuous as a signal, like a flag fluttering in the wind, or a beacon raised.

Pushing Back or Letting God Form More of Christ In You?

But these other people's deeds?
I have avoided such violent ways by the command from your lips.

I’m not trying to get my way in the world’s way.
I’m trying to get your way, your Word’s way.
-Psalm 17:4 (CEB, MSG)

Every day, we are thrown into the rat race and if we win, we're still a rat.  Every day the world and other people in the world push against us.  Sometimes, when we are bumped or cut off, we hear, "excuse me", from the other person; but more often, we don't hear that.  Will we push back, lash out, and be destructive; or turn the other cheek?

When we are presented with a challenge, a challenging situation; are we going to do what it takes to get our way or are we going to try to let God get his way?  Are we going to respond to difficulties, trials, or obstacles in the world's way or Gods way?

The world's way is "survival of the fittest" and "the ends justifies the means".  There is a false self-righteousness that believes that you are right and the other is wrong, so you must defeat the lesser other, by any means.

You might not ever be that way, but you might defend yourself and try to vindicate yourself and justify yourself.  Oswald Chambers wrote, in My Utmost For His Highest, November 23rd:

Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.

We avoid the world's ways of being destructive, being terminators, or being rats racing; by feeding on, listening to, and walking in the words of God.

What if the answer to every problem, every obstacle, every setback was God's word?  What if all the keys are in God's word?  What if God has a specific promise for each one of us that addresses each of our specific problems, issues, or challenges?

When we run into, or run up against our problem; God has already provided provision for it in Christ.  All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).  We need more of Christ in our lives, to face the issue in our lives.

Even though David was a warrior and he knew how to kill people, he could say to God that he had avoided violent ways by the command from God's lips.  David was not a destroyer.  David would not hurt Saul, even though Saul was trying kill him.  David instead, prayed for God to protect him and work out his promises.

Can we wait on God, wait with God; getting a deeper walk, a deeper revelation of God; while God works out our salvation?  Can we make our life about God getting his way while we get more Christ likeness worked into us by God?

Majoring On The Majors

I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours.
-John 17:9

Jesus tells His Father, "I am not praying for the world".  Does that mean we are not supposed to pray for the unsaved or what does it mean?  Martin Luther said, "what must be asked for the world is that it may be converted, not that it may be sanctified or kept."  We might get so caught up with the world, that we end up putting energy into getting the world to be better, to behave, to be sanctified; when the truth is that the world is rejecting salvation through Christ.

Today, it is the same.  Jesus is still praying for people who are coming to God through him (Romans 8:34 & Hebrews 7:25).  Jesus prays for the salvation, the sanctification of believers.  Jesus intercedes for those who are his.  We might want to discover what Jesus is praying for us and pray with him.

We know that the Bible says, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life", in John 3:16.  But it also says, "Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them.  Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever", in 1 John 2:15-17.

God loves the world so much that he sent Jesus to save the world.  The world is against God, but God sent Jesus to reconcile the people in it to Him.  Folks have to take a step towards God, through Christ, and repent of their sin and rebellion, and start over.  That same world, that believers have come out of, God says not to love it.  Of the world, or the world system, or the worldwide culture that is against Christ; God says, "come out of it, don't partner with it, don't be aligned with it."

The Christian walks with God, who is on a mission to save the people in the world.  In the eyes of the Christian, people in the world who are not yet Christians, not followers, nor seekers of God through Christ; are our mission field.  They are people who need God and might not know it.  They are people who are opposed to God and don't understand the eternal consequence of that.  This is real life in the world for the Christian.

The issue for the unconverted people is that they are unconverted.  They don't know that they are in darkness, that they are blind, and that they are captured by the enemy.  The issue for the Christian is to lead the unconverted to Christ.  Everyone needs the free gift of salvation through Christ.  The enemy has blinded them to this and people have all sorts of distorted views of God.  God is love, but that love was most expressed through the death of Christ, and now that love is expressed through the Church of Christ and only comes because of God's love expressed through his only son.  That's the whole love issue.

The major message is that Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  We don't pray that someday, somehow, or maybe the world would get it and get better.  We pray, "God please give me the message of Christ with power, to take to the world today."  That is the same as saying, "thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Not Offended

Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.
Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.
-Matthew 11:6 (CEB, NET)

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.  And they took offense at him.
-Mark 6:3

Are you easily offended?  We get offended when our expectations are not met.  The more self centered we are, the more we have a sense of entitlement.  We might also be governed by should's and ought's and when things don't go as we think they should or ought to, we say, "why?", and the answer to "why?" questions are usually judgemental,  condemning, or shaming.

"Open the eyes of my heart, open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you, I want to see you."

We sing that song and a dozen others that are about transformation.  There were people who could not see Jesus in the gospels.  They didn't get him.  They were blind and deaf.  They needed to be born again.  They had ideas or boxes about how things were supposed to work and Jesus was outside those boxes.  They were offended at him and a group of the most offended ones plotted and carried out his murder.

To be offended means to trip, to stumble, to fall down, or to get caught in a snare.  There are opportunities to be offended from the moment you wake up in the morning.  What or who woke you might offend you.

Jesus offended people, when he did not meet their expectations.  Dying on a Roman cross was offensive to those who were looking for a different kind of messiah.  Today, the idea of God coming as a man, and dying a torturous death is offensive to many people to the point that they just don't believe it.

If Jesus offended people then, even having to warn his cousin John to not take offense at him; we are in danger of being offended, even at Jesus, today.  John (the baptist)and those close to John, were in danger of being offended at Jesus.  They were and John perhaps was filled with expectations about Jesus that were not fulfilled.

There's a saying that you can get bitter or better.  Those who get bitter, have been offended and turn away from God.  Those who get better, feel the sting, the loss, the jilt; and turn to God.

What if I look at Jesus every time something "not good" happens to me?

What if, when I don't get what I want, when injustice hits me, when I am passed over, or when people do any variety of bad things to me; what if then, I turn the other cheek and turn to Jesus?

What if my quest, my goal, in life, is to be so in Christ that he is my life; he is my everything.  

What if loving, knowing, pleasing, and being in Christ is my life?  Isn't this the Christian life?

When we get offended, it is a sign of a glitch in our operating system that needs an upgrade.  We need more Christ in that part of us that got offended and God wants to give us more Christlikeness.

What if the Christian life is about Christ?  How it is about Christ is that we have received Christ as our savior and are now seen by God as in Christ.  We also have made Jesus, The Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord.  He is not only the one who has saved us, whom we received salvation from by faith; but he has also become the Lord of our lives.

The second, Lord, part is not optional.  Jesus is Lord.  Real Christians has surrendered their lives to The Lord Jesus.  I have died and now Christ lives.  "I" means my self, my ego, my selfishness.

Dead people or dead to self people do not get offended.  Dead to self people are alive in Christ.  God takes care of his children, those in Christ.  In Christ, we trust God to meet our needs.  In Christ, God unfolds and fulfills a plan he has for each individual.

When we get offended, we are not very much in Christ.  When we get offended, we are being little gods who are punishing the offenders of us, and it is ugly.  It is not Christlike.  

The more you are in Christ, the less offended you will be.  You'll be happier and those around you will be happier.  You'll be a better person for it.  So, the Christian life is all about.......   Christ.  Let God love you and transform you.  Let God's Spirit make you more like Jesus.  Just turn to Jesus, return to Jesus if you have stumbled and let him give you his unoffendable heart.

Bring Me Empty Vessels

He said, “Go out and borrow containers from all your neighbors. Get as many empty containers as possible. Then go in and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all those containers. Set each one aside when it’s full.” She left Elisha and closed the door behind her and her sons. They brought her containers as she kept on pouring.  When she had filled the containers, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”  He said to her, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
-2 Kings 4:3-6

Are you full of God or full of yourself?  Are you hungry for God or satisfied?

Do you believe that if God blesses you, he will also bless all those around you: your family, your friends and neighbors, your neighborhood, your town, your city, your state, your nation, and the whole world?

Did you know that God's generosity and provision is so abundant that we are usually the ones who limit God?  How do we limit God?  By walking away when God is not through,  by not offering something for God to fill.

When it rains, if you want some rain water, you have to go out and get in it.  Then you have to open something that is empty to catch it.

That is how it is with God.  You have to go out.  You have to open up.  You have to be receptive.  You also have to be empty to get filled.

Being filled with self righteousness is a greater hindrance to God than being filled with sin.  Jesus comes to save sinners.

Some people who are saved are still carrying some of their sins and they need to let them go and make a trade.  Some people are saved, but keep punishing themselves.  Some people are saved, but are still sinning as a life style.  We need to empty these and get filled with grace and love from God.

Some of us are waiting on God for something and we are tapped out, we are empty.  God never promises to do what we want when we want it.  We have to wait.  There is a hallway between your promise or your request and it's fulfillment.  Your faith is being tried by your unmet need.  All faith must go through trial to be real.

When this lady's fulfillment came, she had to do something uncomfortable in borrowing containers from her neighbors.  She was desperate and destitute and the waiting and lack over time had tried her faith, but she had enough faith to make the request to be blessed or to receive provision in her destitute state.  She had to now exercise her faith by following strange instructions.

We might be at the end of our rope, but we are still exercising our faith, even if it is in a small way, by waiting and asking; continuing to wait and ask.  We are keeping the fire of faith lit in our lives. 

Then God, probably through a person, asks us to do something strange, something awkward.  We've sat before the Lord in our waiting room.  We've stood before the Lord in worship and warfare.  These were hard enough, but we've kept on keeping on and when we've stumbled we've fallen forward and we've gotten up and kept going.  Now, we are asked to do something that goes beyond our present comfort zones.

The lady in the story had to go borrow empty containers from all her neighbors.  She had to "go public" with her strange faith and risk ridicule.  Was she going to be able to step out and look like a fool or be a person who does not make sense?  Will she be able to do this, to carry out this assignment, without taking offense at God?

It's the same with us.  God solves our problems in unconventional ways.  God is not logical.  Will we follow him as he skips steps and takes us off the map, through a way we do not know?  Are we willing to walk out a life that defies human explanation? 

Notice in the story that the oil kept flowing as long as it had an empty place to go into.  Once you get filled by God, with his love, his grace, his power, his wisdom; God will keep filling you as long as you give him something to fill.

It is a New Testament, kingdom principle that those who have can have more and those who don't have will even lose what they have (Mark 4:12, Matt. 13:12, 25:25; and Luke 8:18b).  Jesus' point is not that the rich get richer, but that it is all about receptivity or hunger.

Have you stopped asking for more?  Are you holy enough?  Have you stopped repenting?  Have you stopped engaging with God and had enough spiritual growth?  Did you start to get healed or delivered, then stopped asking for more healing and deliverance?

Some of us need to make space in our lives for God to fill.  That might be specific time, but it is more likely to be space in your heart.  Do you long for God all through the day and while you sleep?  Are you aware of your need for God all the time?  Do you have real estate for God?  Do you have space available?

Happy Days Are Here Again

Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.Though darkness covers the earth and gloom the nations,
the Lord will shine upon you; God’s glory will appear over you.
-Isaiah 60:1-2

In the time ahead, when the world around is in trouble, those who are in Christ will experience joy.  In the time ahead, when the world is falling apart, Christians will come together.

Consider the song, "happy days are here again".

That song was written months before the stock market crashed and world-wide economic depression ravaged the world through the decade of the 1930's.

After the song was released and more and more people became familiar with it, things went from bad to worse for many people, but the popularity of the song grew and spread.

There are times when many people are going through difficulties, even the same difficulties, in common, at the same time.  The Great Depression was one of these times.  Times of natural disaster and man-made disaster can bring a season on gloom to whole peoples, whole nations.

In the midst of this, Isaiah 60:1 and 2 says that you will stand up and shine with God's glory.  The word says to get up, arise.  Perhaps some or many people who could get up will not, so the word implores you to arise or get up.  Get up, go out, move around; get active.  A great activation is coming.

In the midst of the gloom, God's people will be people of an opposite spirit.  Those who arise will be like lightening rods, for heaven coming to earth.

This has always been the Christian's job on earth, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." 

But in the midst of gloom, Christians will be the happiest people on earth.  We will be having a party and inviting those in the dark to come to the light. We will be singing songs like "Happy Days Are Here Again".

So long sad times, go long bad times
We are rid of you at last Howdy gay times, cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Altogether, shout it now, there’s no one Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

Your cares and troubles are gone

There’ll be no more from now on, from now on

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy times, happy nights
Happy days are here again!