Monday, January 23, 2017

Daily Devotional January 19 - Nine Stages Of spiritual Growth - Stage 4 - Prepared

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  1 Corinthians 2:9
The first stage of spiritual growth is Called.
The second stage of spiritual growth is Washed
The third stage of spiritual growth is Strengthened
The fourth stage of spiritual growth is Prepared

God prepares for us... - God prepares us for...  and we prepare for God.

God prepares for us

God prepares for us: The universe and the earth and all of its beauty and its riches. And if that were all that God did for us it would be a great gift.
  • God prepares for us our body, our emotions, our mind and our spirit - to partake of His creation through (natural law) and to receive from His intervention (supernatural law).
  • God prepares for us a path and shows us the way.
  • God prepares for us His Word and reveals it openly to live by and rely on.
  • God prepares for us blessings, wealth, abundant living, our spouse, our children, our parents.
  • God prepares for us opportunity and adventure.
  • God prepares for us Himself, that we would come to know more than the creation - that we would come to know the creator.
  • God prepares for us a mansion, the new Jerusalem, heaven.
  • God prepares for us principles that work, every time.
  • God prepares for us everything we need and even more to operate in the Spirit.
God prepares us for
  • Each stage of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development, by strengthening us in each stage of our development.
  • God prepares us for the hard times, the down times, the dark times, the empty times, and the lonely times, as well as the good times.
  • God prepares us for the times when things aren't going right - tough times when it seems like there is no resolution.
  • God prepares us to meet situations face on. And by preparing us, we don=t lose our cool - we don't mouth off without thinking - we don't jump to judgement quickly - we don't speak too quickly.
  • God prepares us for what is coming up - that unexpected meeting at the most unexpected time, when someone is hungry for God and you have the words because you have been prepared.
  • God prepares us by empowering the written Word of God to confirm the indwelling Word of God.
When you sense that you are being prepared, you sense that the purpose that you were called to is starting to be unveiled.  You start to see how God took the experiences of your past, (good and bad) and transformed them into your own personal preparation for what is about to come.  Preparation is that stage of spiritual growth where purpose and destiny come together to create revelation and vision.

When God is preparing us
  • We sense a connection with God unlike any before. 
  • We sense that God chooses to allow us to participate in what He is doing and that helps us to understand our true value and worth to God - that God would use the likes of you and I and not only be satisfied with it, but be pleased in it. 
  • We sense that in each of these rather regular activities, God has a plan that includes these activities to get us from where we are to where God is taking us.
  • We sense that God is in it.  We begin to see the mundaneness and the monotony of the repetitious nature of every day activities as an act of God. And when we see, where we are at, knowing that God is in control, we start to appreciate the little things that we have been taking for granted for years.
  • When we sense how God is working in us and through us while we are where we are - The way we start to look at what we do every day is transformed from what was an unknown journey, without rhyme or reason, into an unfolding mystery where trust and faith take form.
  • When we sense that God is preparing for us incomprehensible blessings in this life and the one to come, and we sense that God is preparing us for the unpredictable future, then we want to prepare ourselves, in cooperation with all that God is doing in us and through us.
  • When we see all that God has prepared for us and all that God is preparing us for, we desire to prepare ourselves to live in cooperation with God.
Another word for prepare is to be made ready.
God prepares for us.
God prepares us for, and
We prepare for God:

Here's where the rubber meets the road. God has prepared for us immeasurable promises and blessings.  God has prepared us for what we are going through at this time in our life and God is preparing us for what is about to come. But with all that God does for us, in us and through us, without our cooperation and consent, without our agreement and understanding, without our commitment to the things of God, and without adequate inner preparation, when we meet with opposition - even though we have been empowered by God to overcome the opposition - if we are not prepared in the inner man of ourselves, we cower or draw back or fail. 

When we are saved, we are made heirs with Christ of all that God has. In the salvation experience we received many spiritual gifts.  The lists of the many blessings, truths and principles that God has already bestowed upon us has been given to us, but not until we see them and understand them can we operate in them.  And this happens as we prepare ourselves for God.

What God has prepared for you and I and what God has prepared us for is revealed as we prepare ourselves for God.

What can we do to prepare ourselves for God?
I'm glad you asked.

Right here is where many Christians turn back to the world.

They don't mind a bit that God calls them and washes them and strengthens them, but the preparation stage of spiritual growth is where God starts to put into our hands decision making responsibility.  It's the first time in our spiritual journey that God starts to ask us questions.

 

Let me take you through a short path so you can see this important truth.
Did not God say to Adam in Genesis chapter 3:9, "...Where art thou"? Did God ask Adam where he was because God did not know where Adam was?
Did not God say to Isaiah in Isaiah 6:9, "...Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"
Did not Jesus say to Paul in Acts 9:4, "...Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?"

God doesn't ask us questions so that He can get to the bottom of the problem,. He asks us questions to provoke us to think or to reveal us.  And it is in this provoking and revealing that we are found out. We are uncovered. Just how much we love God and how much we serve the body of Christ is pulled from us by God for the purpose of unraveling who we are. - Not to embarrass us or to put us down or to dishearten us or to discourage us, but to reveal us.

So if God has asked you or I questions like:
  • What are you doing in that place?
  • Or What can you live without?
  • Or Are you available the next 100 Sunday nights?
  • Or Are you willing to set that aside in your life?
  • Or Are you ready to go over the threshold of fear and tell the world about Me?
  • Or What's a good time to meet with you?
  • Or Are you sure you want to risk your marriage?
  • Or Have you done what you said you would do?
  • Or Are you sure they need to know that about so and so?
And if you are thinking these are hard questions - there are those deciding moments when God asks:
Will you go there for me?
Will you set aside a little time to study My Word each week?
Will you pray about your ??????? problem and let me help you through it?
Are you ready to die to self, and let Me reign in your mortal body?

God doesn't ask these and many other questions to hurt us or to make us feel bad, or to degrade us - No, every time God asks a question, it will be so that we can have a clear vision of who we are.  It is part of being prepared

But there's another part of being prepared that is exciting and wonderful.
  • It's when God gives us more responsibility to handle the things of God, because we are faithful stewards in what we have.
  • It's when God takes us to that next level of commitment where God says, Ago ahead, take it around the block yourself, like the first time our parents let us drive the car.
  • It's when someone is hurting and you have a word for them. You don't have an idea what to say, but what you say is what they need to hear.
  • You have an encouraging word at a discouraging time.
  • You aren't afraid to practice the faith that you have been blessed with.
  • You don't care if so and so thinks your too radical, you can=t stop the flow of God working in you and through you, because you have felt what it is like to operate in the Spirit and you no longer fear letting God make a fool of you for His sake.
Wait, someone has cancer, someone has a tumor, somebody just lost a child, a good friend is dying - and before you were prepared, you would hide from the opportunity to be present or to be a part of the healing process or the grieving process, but now that you are prepared, you stand by their side - not always knowing the outcome, but always knowing the one who does.
  • Before we are prepared we worry about most anything.
  • Before we are prepared, we have doubt that lingers and hangs around taunting us and condemning us.
  • Before we are prepared, the enemy accuses us and we let it get to us.
  • Before we are prepared, we are able to go this way or that way as we are led by the circumstances or the situation we are in.
  • Before we are prepared, we are easily led to live below our calling.
  • Before we are prepared, we say one thing and do another, because it's still more important to us what we look like than who we are.
  • Before we are prepared, we still think that we are the owner of what we have instead of the steward of what God has.
Can you sense in your spirit that God is tugging on your heart to give up a little more inner space than ever before?  That's part of being prepared.

Tomorrow we look at the fifth stage of spiritual growth, filled.

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