2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV - 9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Naming the tallest land animal is probably not one of the more difficult nature questions. The undisputed answer is "the giraffe!" What most people may not know if why the giraffe was created so tall. If we could ask a giraffe what its favorite food is, these giant herbivores (plant-based creatures) would probably vote for acacia leaves. It turns out that acacia trees can grow at a rate as fast as 3 feet a year eventually reaching a mature height of 20-50 feet. For a giraffe, with an average height of 16-20 feet and a tongue up to 2 feet long, it would seem that our Creator reveals both His wisdom and care, in giving His tallest creature a food source that is in their reach, and height that enables them to reach it.
Psalm 147:8-9 KJV - 8 [The LORD] covereth the heaven with clouds, Who prepareth rain for the earth, Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. 9 He giveth to the beast his food, [and] to the young ravens which cry.
If God does this everyday for giraffes, ravens, and all of His creatures, what less should we expect Him to do for the ones He made in His image and for the ones He made the giraffes, ravens, and all creatures for? I am a living witness that God provides for us by enabling us to grow taller, lowering the branches to our reach, or both! Case in point, our family has been looking for a desk for our home. We actually need two so that we can work at the same time to study, write, record & edit videos, etc. But after pricing a few, two desks were in our hearts but not in our budget. In comes the LORD, the Creator.
While at Aldi for a grocery run, our girls stayed in the car and ate snacks while Tara was on the phone with a friend. So I, Chris, go inside and God provides all the food we needed from the store. But as I am walking out the exit door, I glance over to the other side of the entrance door and see a pallet full of desks for sale. They look good and now it's time to see if their "priced good". Abandoning my cart, I walk around to see that the desks are reasonably priced $99.99 to $74.99, but they are on clearance for $49.99. There it is! I think the name "Chris" might be Aramaic or Sumerian for "clearance" because this seemed like the answer to prayer. So I snap a few pictures of the desks and price tag to run the idea by Tara and the girls. They liked them so I go back inside with Jai'el so we can pull off this team lift to get the box into the car. Arriving at the checkout with a smile, I pull the cart around so the cashier can scan the box and she tells us the total...$26.43. $26.43? I asked her again and she just shook her head up and down. Next question, "Can I get two?" She shook her head up and down. I came to the counter with a smile but left in shock and awe!
Did our Creator just do what He does? And did He just do it without me even asking? He blessed us and made us tall enough to go after the $49.99, but to show how he could do both, He lowered the branch from $99.99 to $74.99 to $49.99 to $25.00+tax - without us even asking! Brother and sisters, thank God for the bless up! But as we walk and wait on the LORD, read the verses that follow Psalm 147:8-9. Psalm 147:9-10 says -
Psalm 147:10-11 KJV - 10 [The LORD] delighteth not in the strength of the horse: He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.
God is pleased when we hope in Him! Whether we are blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10, the woman with the demon-possessed daughter in Matthew 15, or the dude looking for a desk in Aldi on a rainy Sunday night, when we obey God by trusting Jesus, and hope in His mercy to lower the branch or stand in His grace that makes us taller, He gets a chance to do what only He can do, create in us; and to do what He really wants to do - care for us!
What does it me~an to be born of God? Before we answer that, let's understand why both this question and answer are so important. To be born of God is so important because it is the ONLY way to overcome! More specifically, it's the only way to overcome this world. It is the one way to be in the world, but not of the world. What exactly does the Bible mean by "the world"?
1 John 2:16 KJV - 16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Essentially, whatever is "not of the Father" is "of the world." That kind of cuts it straight doesn't it? So how can we escape the world while walking in it? Yes, we can escape -
2 Peter 1:4 KJV - 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.''
But our escape is the realization of a promise; even, "exceeding great and precious promises" to be born again! The first time we came onto the scene we were born of flesh from our mother and father, and all that is in them is in us. But when we are born again, or born of the Spirit of God, all that is in Him is in us! Talk about a miracle of life! What happens everyday in delivery rooms throughout the world is a miracle. But what happens everyday in classrooms, churches, cars, break rooms, bedrooms, closets, or on the street when someone is born again, is miracle of eternity!
So how are we born again?
John 3:16 KJV - 16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1 John 5:1 KJV - 1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him.
To be born of God is to believe in Jesus. Born of God = Believe in Jesus. Born of the Father = Believe in His Son. By God, through Jesus - this simple pivot in our faith both re-routes and re-roots us. Trusting in God through His Son not only changes the trajectory or direction of our experience, but it re-roots our whole existence in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, the sacrifice for sin and our sins. In that instant of surrender, we no longer operate by our own will, but live by the power and presence of God, the Spirit of God, by believing in His Son!
John 1:12-13 KJV - 12 But as many as received [Christ], to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
New birth is the result of new belief! Accepting what God has already offered, and what Jesus has made available by His offering. When we believe His promise fulfilled, we can walk in His promises fulfilling...
1 John 3:9 KJV - 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 4:7 KJV - 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 5:4 KJV - 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.
1 John 5:18 KJV - 18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
To keep is to be kept. To be born is to believe. Being loved, we love. We aren't the author, but the echo of what God has done; for by His Spirit is the only way we can continue to do. God doing continually in us, what through Jesus He has done for us. Born, again!
EZEKIEL 36:25 KJV - 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Rainy Mondays can be rough. Well, I guess any rainy day can be rough - especially if you have to drive in it! Slow down, lights on, wipers up. The sound of the back and forth of the blades can be enough to make you whisper a prayer for sunshine. And true to form, the God Who sent the rain is the same one Who sends the sunshine. We need them both and He sends them both. In order and on time because it's in His time! But you know one of the blessings of the rain is the free car wash. Depending on where you live that might be a car wash, a mud wash, or even snow slush wash. But after the rain and thanks to your windshield wipers, for nearly all of us, the rain is a clear wash for our windshield.
In the midst of the anxiety or stress of the rain, and the monotony of the wiper blades, the windshield almost always comes out better after the storm than before. No matter how fast or slow you drive, or what kind of car you drive, if it rains hard enough that windshield comes out looking new because it comes out clear. The dirt, the bugs, and the bird turds - all gone. You know our hearts can get like that over time. The dirt of sin, the bugs of burdens, and the bird droppings of life can build up, but we get used to seeing around them rather than getting rid of them. Bitter dispositions, negative thoughts, and high blood pressure are often just symptoms of dirty mental and spiritual windshields that need more than a stray wishful wipe away, but a good rain.
Our Heavenly Father promised in Ezekiel 36 to wash us clean - from all our filthiness. And one of the benefits of being clean is clarity. Like looking through that clear windshield, we start to see things for what they really are and for what they are not. This clarity takes away the need to squint and we no longer have to stress like the blind guides of MATTHEW 23:24 "which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." It's not so much that life changes, but our perception certainly does. Nothing on the other side of the windshield really changes, but the clarity to see it does; and that can be life changing. Seeing God for Who He truly is and sin for what it is (and isn't).
Yet another benefit of being clean...clarity. Let God do the wiping while we do the walking. Let the love of God by the blood of Jesus, wash you and make you clean! To find it, believe it and receive it...
Job 11:13-14 KJV - 13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward Him; 14 If iniquity [be] in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV - 6 Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon Him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
1 John 1:7 KJV - 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
- Chris Bailey III
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God has something to say to us (more than we want to hear it)! That's why there is always a WORD!