Archive for February 2009

His Unmovable Shadow

February 11, 2009

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

This verse contains one of my favorite descriptions of God’s nature and character. Not only is there “no variableness” with our Father – He always being consistent and dependable, without the slightest variation from His faithfulness – but even His shadow doesn’t move.

“Neither shadow of turning”

Our Father is so steadfast and unwavering, that not only doesn’t He move from His faithfulness, but there is not even the slightest movement of His shadow.

Now that’s dependability!

“For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed [confounded, disappointed] (Romans 10:11).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook

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The “Daze” of Our Lives

February 11, 2009

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-8).

Solomon describes the relentless cycle of earthly life. It can seem like a treadmill, a vicious testimony to vanity, the rat race of human existence. You know what I am talking about. Some days can seem more like a daze – than anything that makes sense – and with all the things that mess up and go undone, we end up feeling like a failure.

Ever notice how it seems that the everyday things just seem to pile up; the things that “need” fixing, or just in things that “need” to be done in the normal course of daily life? We find ourselves in the position of the old Dutch proverb, “The further I go, the behinder I get” or, “The harder I work, more work I find to be done.”

The cycle of earthly life can be heavy and wearisome much of the time, with repeating bouts of discouragement, being overwhelmed and depressed. The feeling of futility and failure is a byproduct of Adamic life, and I find myself living in that place more often than I would like. I believe that the Lord allows us to live near the edge, so that we have no choice but simply to rest in Him. After all, it is He Who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Faith always brings us back to the place where, if there is failure, it would need to be His! For, after all, He is all that we really have; and He is all that we really need – for isn’t He our Father, and the Master of the Universe?

When we are weak then are we strong (II Corinthians 12:10). That’s the truth that Paul taught and lived! We often tend to see “things getting done” or “things not getting done” by the eye of human achievement – by our own self-effort – instead of through the divine-viewpoint that we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). All that is really being done is not so much about “what we do” anyway, or of our “accomplishments;” rather, it is about what is being done “to us” and “through us” – after all, WE ARE THE WORK … “HIS WORKMANSHIP.” So, even when we seem like a failure, something is getting done; and only the eye of faith can see that!

The human eye is always seeking the solution and victory in “things,” in “circumstances”
and in “situations.” If only they would change, we think we would have “success.” Yet God is seeking instead to change us in the “things,” in the “circumstances,” and in the “situations” so that in whatsoever state we are, we can find the true life of joy and contentment in Him (Philippians 4:11).

How often we forget this and are drawn back to the “things,” the “circumstances” and in the “situations.” It is not easy to see with the eyes of faith in a physical world. Our lives can seem to us to be an utter disaster; near the brink of total collapse. The grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome is so real to our hearts. “If only I had ______,” what a difference everything would be. Then, what comes after we actually get what we think we “need”? We just get a new, “If I only had _____” to replace the previous one. We must not be fooled by all of this; it is only that vicious cycle of Adam’s old search for meaning in life. We need to remind ourselves of these truths.

Often I remember this verse:

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (I Samuel 30:6).

David was greatly distressed,” but he “encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

We have to learn to do what David did. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt so discouraged, felt on the edge of throwing in the towel on EVERYTHING; but then I would tell my heart the things that my Father has taught me on my journey with Him.

As we go through the daze of our lives, let us remember that God in His good pleasure has chosen us to be His workmanship.” There, in His divine operation, is something wonderful that should not, but somehow often seems to be forgotten. What is it? It is that since God has chosen us, we are then by that virtue: foolish, weak, base and despised (I Corinthians 1:27). God’s work in His chosen vessels is most often not (if not never) accomplished in some big-production-way that brings attention to His vessels. He uses the foolish, weak, base and despised; and praise the Father, we qualify! Especially me!

Andre Sneidar

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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