Greetings again my Brethren.  Situations and circumstances in our lives define and refine our character.  I hear Christians ask, why do bad things happen to me, well in God’s eyes they are not bad things they are the “good things” in Ephesians 2:10, “which God hath before ordained (or created for us by God) that we should walk in them.” The word “works” mentioned in verse nine was not God working on us, but all of our good religious works we do for God that we think will save us from our sin or affect the betterment of our character in some way. For a change in our character to happen God must be able to get His “word” (His spoken (Rhema) and (Logos) written word) by His works to our heart and “as a man thinks in His heart so is he.”  (Proverbs 23:7)  It is God working in our lives during tough and hard times, hardships, interpersonal experiences, sadness, disappointments, setbacks, failures, victories, bad situations and circumstances is when our character is affected and there is maturity and spiritual growth in our lives.  Now it is NOT the hardships, bad times, failures, disappointments, etc. that cause the change, they in themselves will do little for our spiritual growth and probably will make us angry at God.  Oh no it is the work God does in our heart out from the situations and circumstances.  This is why Paul says we must be strengthened with might in our inner man, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” (Ephesians 3:16-17) Without this strengthening by God, through His good works Christ will not, cannot dwell in our heart by faith.  We see this truth in the lives of Matthew and Saul.  In Mark we read of Matthews call to follow Jesus, “And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus (Matthew) sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.” (Mark 2:13-14) Matthew’s call was not as exciting and impactful as Saul’s, “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  (Acts 9:3-6) The call was made and they responded and their lives were never the same. Matthew’s call was not so dramatic, but never the less his life was changed. Some Christians experience life altering events in their lives that accompany God’s call like with Saul while others are called while sitting on the back pew of a church. The experiences from the call are not the primary concern to God, but our reaction, did we answer or not.  Many Christians have been taught wrong and this is why they think (again Proverbs 23:7) wrong. Many Christians have been taught (by the apostate church leaders) God is using all of His “riches in glory” to make us happy, rich, connected, attractive, and prosperous, well that thinking is dead wrong. Many Christians believe the greater sin God brings one from the greater the salvation and call well that my friend is rubbish. God calls us all from sin no matter the depth, we are the ones who define the depth of sin in our lives we are redeemed from. God is doing everything we will allow Him to conform us into the icon (original and expressed image) of His precious Son Jesus Christ.  The type of call does not matter.  The situation or circumstance God calls to us from does not matter they all are His “kick against the pricks” to sharpen our ears and goad (prick in the right direction) to help move us in the direction God is calling us.

Next month we start to look at how the instrument of God is accomplished in a variety of ways.  Do you hear Him now?