By Mary Lindow
I am by far not an expert on the subject of plumb lines and righteousness, so take what I say in the light of one who at time gropes like a child in the dark, ever reaching for the hand of the ONE to lead me into a safe place filled with His Hope, His Mercy, His Light and Life.
WE LIVE IN A CORRUPT WORLD and therefore, have the “effects and affects” of that corruption ever influencing, ever tainting and ever wooing the flesh.
Plumb line: a tool that consists of a small, heavy object attached to a string or rope and that is used especially to see if something (such as a wall) is perfectly vertical or in alignment)
A plumb line is a simple but accurate tool used for determining whether or not something is perfectly vertical or upright. The Lord also used, and uses, a "plumb line," His Word, to determine how upright His people truly are in His sight.
How upright they think they are, or how upright they proclaim themselves to be, means nothing to God.
"Behold, I WILL set a plumb line in the midst of My people". -Amos 7:7
A PLUMB LINE SET OUT BY THE HAND OF GOD IS ONE THAT WE CAN ANCHOR OUR HEARTS TO.
It will always, always, ALWAYS, direct us to the truth in a matter; even if it requires pain, loss, persecution and perhaps death in areas we feel we may well have rights to.
It will also be a shield, a balm, a comfort and a teacher to those who will yield to the directive positioning of the Master.
“I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.”
LIFE – DISTRESS - AND PERSECUTION
I have found that in my life, distress and persecution do not feel like God’s care being poured out on me. My heart is not immediately drawn to thanksgiving and gratefulness for the faithfulness of God on display as I cling to the battered pieces that look like potential “rafts” of hope, only to find out that many of them have gaping holes or slow leaks in them.
Rather, it feels like yet another hurt is being permanently woven into my tattered and war-torn soul. It seems as if another mound of questions are piling up and just waiting for an answer and a true solid REAL anchor of hope.
I CAN REALLY CONNECT TO THE WRITER OF PSALM 42
He said “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” It’s at those very times that the words of the Savior are so important. When we are down and in turmoil.
But, how do we connect the dots between what we know is true about God’s faithfulness and what our hearts feel? When flipped and flung around by the waves, weary from crying and when no answer seems at hand, what is the answer?
When my circumstances show many foes and tyrants rising up against me and my heart is prone to wander and fear, what hope is there of peace?
When my feelings start controlling my thoughts, how can I rest in God’s promises?
AT THIS POINT… I HEAR THE “GASPS” …
…And perhaps shocked comments of a few who are amazed that someone who appears to walk so fervently and intimately with the Lord would have such difficulties!
Well! Guess what?
I do struggle, I do hurt, and yes I do doubt when I have been side swiped or “rammed” by skilled cons and those who, although may have the appearance of godliness and offered friendship or fellowship, end up having private and evil agendas behind their well placed and planned schemes.
And boy oh boy! Those skilled players know the wicked art of wounding the heart and causing people to reel in pain!
BUT, THERE IS ONE WHO FULLY SEES IT ALL
The main skill in the issue of dealing with life as a spiritual person, is to know how to handle yourself when things not only crush and grind your heart, but what to do with the anguish and toll of their aftermath.
We have to get ourselves into a place where we hear clearly again.
We need have to address ourselves, preach to ourselves, and ask questions about ourselves.
We must say to our soul: ‘Why are you cast down’–Why are you so anxious and lacking in peace?
We must urge ourselves, and say ‘Hope in God’–instead of remaining in this paralyzed, aching state!”
AND THEN WE MUST TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER
We must go on to remind ourselves just “Who “God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has promised that he Himself said that He would do.
Having done that we can stand up and sing out strongly, defying the torment of the soul, and resist other people’s wicked tongues and arrogance, and refuse to go along with the devil and the whole world, and say: ‘Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
The hope and promise of the fairness of God’s justice when dealing with the hurtful things and presumptions of others gives me the confidence to know that God will never turn away from me in my need. No matter how they seem to prosper in the short term, wicked men and women will ultimately pay for their sins, in this life or the next. Jesus died to meet my greatest hardships and sorrows for me, and I need to preach this to myself every day.
His power is greater than my weariness and suffering.
The comforting and instruction that comes from simply running to feed upon His word instead of the toxic poison of the replaying of trauma reminds me that what Jesus has done is strong enough for my soul to rejoice in and to be set into a place where it can rest and regroup, gaining a healthy perspective about what to give out to others and what is simply…
…. To be enjoyed by the Lord Himself.
THE NATURAL IMPULSES OF MANKIND ARE SINFUL AND DECEITFUL!
Human willpower alone will never be able to change this.
We need God's help to truly change our hearts.
REMEMBER. You cannot change the heart of anyone else either.
If you try to, you will feel the bite of stinging venom or be laughed out of a room. Only the power of the conviction of the Holy Spirit can permeate and get around the jam-packed hardhearted egos of the self sufficient and bitter.
Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is deceitful in all things and is even beyond cure!
We must be cautious and wise in reproving and warning such types of people about their bad behaviors and wicked actions where there seems to be no appearance or hope of change and where there is danger of experiencing great and heart wrecking retaliation and slander. These types trample the warnings and urging for repentance and humbling of the heart under their feet, and turn again and slash at you, despising the warnings that are “tearfully and fearfully” given, and often hurt the persons who give them, either by words or deeds.
"Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy.
Don't throw your pearls to pigs!
They will trample the pearls,
then turn and attack you.”
"GIVE ME THE FACTS MA’AM JUST THE FACTS”
I remember that phrase from a TV show called “Dragnet”. The detective would not allow the details of the case to be skewed by any assumptions or pontificating from those he interviewed. He stoically and firmly demanded only the facts.
And so, Here are the “facts” about the heart of a good man or woman.
1.) The good man or woman: Brings good things out of the good stored up in his/her heart. And the facts about an evil man or woman.
2.) The evil man/woman brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his/her heart. For out of the overflow of his or her heart his or her mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
THE FRAILTY, BRIEFNESS, AND INSECURITY OF LIFE
The frailty, briefness, and insecurity of life should hold down the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all of our projects and boasting about future greatness and bragging rights! We are always to depend on the will and leading of God.
OUR TIMES ARE NOT IN OUR OWN HANDS, BUT ARE INSTEAD IN THE TIMING OF GOD. Our heads may be filled with cares and plans for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Divine intervention often throws our plans into bewilderment. All we have in mind, and all we do, should be with a humble and deep dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of trendy “latest happening” things and prospective projects, and it will bring great disappointment and will prove destructive to relationships and meaningful help to others in the end.
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure,
a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.
These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
-1 John 2:16
LISTEN KINDLY - BEFORE SPEAKING YOUR THOUGHTS
People don't need a lecture on the meaning of suffering or to have a barrage of scriptures “machine-gunned” at them as a reprimand for sharing their moment of grief or struggle! Especially when their hearts are breaking, weary of the battle and if they are fatigued.
Job could have done without some of the self-righteous answers that came from his “well-meaning” friends. All of the answers could have even been true, but Job didn't need to hear any of them.
He needed their love, not their value judgments.
In fact, it appears as if God judged THEM for trying to offer simple solutions to things that were beyond their comprehension. They had never walked in the loss he was in anguish over.
WHEN WE SUFFER UNJUSTLY WE HAVE A MAJOR CHOICE TO MAKE
How will we respond? We can feel sorry for ourselves (and understandably so, for a while), become bitter and cynical, get drawn into a war of words, or even become mixed up in a major conflict. On the other hand, we can take our suffering to the cross and allow our pain to draw us into a deeper place of understanding of what Jesus went though in his sufferings. This does not remove the pain, but does help us to know what to do with our hurt.
This is the 'fellowship of his sufferings' (Philippians 3:10), one of the gateways to closeness with God and the release of his power in our lives. The weight of heartbreak shared with a loving friend cuts it in half. When the burden is shared with many friends, we can cope with almost anything. We never feel more revitalized than when a friend loves us enough to walk with us in our pain. Not lecture us.
The apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God".
-1 Corinthians 1.3-4
SOMETIMES GOD GETS INVOLVED WITH DIRECT MIRACLES,
Giving supernatural strength to those in need. But for the most part, he depends on us, his people, to do his work in the world. We love each other, work for healing, and suffer with those who suffer.
The next time you see a friend who is suffering, Jesus may just invite you to be the warm embrace! We comfort each other with the comfort we have received in Christ. And when we do, we become the Body of Christ and he receives the glory!
THE BIBLE IS CLEAR!
We are to bear one another's burdens.
We are to comfort others as Christ has given comfort to us.
Your hard time becomes my hard time.
We join hands in the journey.
When you succeed, I succeed.
When you suffer, I suffer. But we do it together. We share it together.
And we do it, not so much in our wisdom or our words, but in our availability, our understanding, and through our presence.
THAT'S WHAT FELLOWSHIP IS ALL ABOUT!
But not “bland” fellowship. It is CHRISTIAN fellowship. It is the business of burden bearing. Authentic CHRISTIAN fellowship says that when you need me . . . I'll be there. Support in suffering is at the core of what it means to share life together in Christ. The word for "comfort” is the same root word as the name Jesus used to describe one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Paraclete). “I will be a comforter, one who comes alongside to give help.” And so as God comes alongside you, now you are able to come alongside another. As the Comforter is at work within you, so you also can be of comfort to those around you.
WE ARE CALLED TO BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS.
To mourn with those who mourn. To be a follower of Jesus means to come alongside people who are hurting and find ways to help them walk even through the valley of the shadow of death. We are called… … To do this. As the word of God and care of God is shared with the intention of stirring, plowing up hardened hearts, creating a place for repentance and challenging saints to hope again, I know and believe that as we learn again as believers, to care, to truly listen and to hope fully again, that the sweet and heavy weight of HIS Glory will be made known and will manifest in unfettered and uncontrolled waves of worship and spontaneous adoration of the King of Heaven.
HE REALLY DOES KNOW WHAT HE WANTS
Let's focus on bowing low and seeking His heart and plans in what matters to Him.
Indeed, HE is the Plumb line.
God, I ask in Jesus' name, that you comfort, strengthen and encourage all who are hurting deeply right now and are going through so much pain and heartache.
Don't allow them to give up in the heat of the battle.
Let them feel your arms wrapping around them and your love overflowing and filling them up. Lord, I will pray often and I know that you will hear my voice, even when I speak to You in my silent thoughts.
To You, I am crying out and my prayers are now before You.
Father, I give to You my problems, I do not want them.
Father, please restore them to You. I know that you have compassion for your children. Father, show them your ways and teach them your paths. Lead them in your truth and teach them you are the God of our salvation and on you we will wait.
Protect them from the evils of this life and guide them through all of their days. Father, thank You for hearing my prayer Father and for considering and for having compassion on all who hear and read these words, and all who hurt, in this troubled world we live in.
Keep them in the center of Your love.
In Jesus’ Name
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