January 16, 2016

Being Faithful in a Foreign Land

"Bloom where you are planted"

I'm sure we've all heard that at some point in our lives.  It's what God told the Jews in exile. Jeremiah 29 records the story of the Israelites' exile into Babylon.  I can only imagine how HELPLESS and HOPELESS they felt being somewhere they did not feel they belonged.  They weren't HOME and they certainly weren't in a place of PROMISE.  

But this is what God said to them to ESTABLISH THEMSELVES THERE:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. INCREASE in number there....do not DECREASE."  If THAT wasn't enough----they were to seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which they were carried into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers...you too will prosper.”  ...... they certainly didn't BELONG there.  Nor did they want to BE there.  THIS was not their home. But God gave them specific instructions.  WHILE you're in *THIS PLACE*.....flourish.  Be productive.  Be diligent.  Keep moving.  Life hasn't stopped.  My blessings haven't ceased.  This isn't permanent.  But while you're here?  You will PROSPER.  Don't quit.  BE....*FULLY*....HERE.  And I will bless you.  They weren't meant to just SURVIVE in this place. The welfare of the place they found themselves (Babylon) was dependent upon their attitude and willingness to DO what was in front of them to do while they were there.  *AND* it didn't come without promise......He says to them: "......then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land."  It wasn't a permanent resting place.  That season wasn't meant to last.  There was a HOPE to look forward to.  A destiny ahead for them.....but they needed to be FULLY present in the place they found themselves and continue to work and be obedient to what God gave them to do.  *HE* would see to it....*HE* would bring them into the place of PROMISE.  Their only requirement was to obey.  I love this quote by Chuck Swindoll:

"Endurance is not jaw-clenched resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It's a long obedience in the same direction. It's staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It's a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It's a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. " 

Every step you take to get to your Promised Land is a place of Promise.
Keep that in mind you won't miss a THING he has stored up for YOU.

You may find yourself in an undesirable place....and it's not what you expected or what you were promised.  This too shall pass.  While you're in this season allow the Lord to cause you to flourish and bless you and cause you to walk in His favor....yes.....even in THIS place.  Because even in THIS your testimony will be evidence that God is WHO He says He is.  He will continue to perform His word on YOUR behalf and bring LIFE and prosperity even in *THIS* place you find yourself.  You're not here to merely SURVIVE.  Be a GAME changer. He's still at work.  He's still moving. Being patient in waiting doesn't mean that you quit until conditions are in your favor.  You keep at it.  You keep pressing forward.  And hold on to hope.  An unshakable, unwavering, tenacious HOPE....that God will bring you into EVERY GOOD THING He's destined for YOU.