“It was once advertised in one of our large cities that a great violinist would be giving a Concert and that the star attraction was that he would be playing a priceless violin. The theatre because of this Violin was absolutely packed out. The Violinist, who naturally had heard that the star attraction was the Violin, came out on stage and played for a short while. He had the audience in raptures, but suddenly to their horror and amazement, he threw the Violin to the ground, and stomped all over it, wrecking it completely, and then walked of the stage. The audience thought that the musician must have lost his marbles and had a breakdown and were totally dumbfounded.
The Manager of the Theater then came onto the stage and addressed the audience, and he informed them that in fact, the Violinist had not as yet played on the priceless violin that they had all come to hear, but one that he had purchased for £5.00 and found in an antique shop all covered in dust, out of tune and with its varnish peeling, and that he would now play the expensive one, no-one in the audience actually noticed the difference.
Now what was the point of the Violinists escapade, well basically this, he wanted to show that it was not the Instrument that was of the greatest importance, but the way it was played and the expertise of the musician”.
The motto of this story is that you may consider yourself today to be a second-class fiddle to everything. You may believe that you’re covered in dust, out of tune and your varnish is peeling, but in the hands of the Master He will make music with you.
It serves as a metaphor of the potential that you have in the hands of God. It is so often true of my life and I’m sure I speak for many if not all today that we have a wrong perspective of our lives and we fail to see our lives as God does.
The illustration reminds us that God can take what is seemingly worthless in the eyes of the world and that when the hand of the master is upon us He makes symphonies of our lives and melodies that resound out to His glory and honour. He can take the seemingly worthless and turn it into something priceless and I thank God that He has because of the work of Christ in my life taken what was worthless and made it into something priceless. It is true for me and can be for you also.
The story shows and illustrates for us today that when the Lord stretches out His Arm and takes hold of us is an example of His Power in active extension, and it does not matter what He decides to lay hold on, because it is the source of the Power that is all important.
It is quite possible for the hand of the Lord to be manifest in a physical manner, however the phrase is invariably utilised as a metaphor to indicate the sincere desire of the almighty, the creator of the universe to be involved in the world’s activities and especially intimately and individually involved in the individual’s life.
Today God is saying, and I want to tell you that: –
- God gives you permission to be kind to yourself
- God gives you permission to love yourself
- God gives you permission to cherish yourself
The central theme of my thoughts today is “The Hand of the Lord”. We are going to consider several the ways in which the Bible shows to us, the Lords hand outstretched towards us.
It is a fact today that: –
- The “Unknowable God” desires to be known.
- The “Invisible God” desires to be visible in the lives of all.
- This God who is deemed by many to be an “Unfathomable God” desires to be understood.
- The “Undiscoverable God” has made Himself discoverable in the person of His Son.
- As Jesus said “He who has seen me has seen the Father”
How does He do this? Well! The clue is in the title of my thoughts and it is by revealing His hand at work in the circumstances of our lives.
As we progress I want to try to unpack in four particular ways how the Unknowable, Invisible and Unfathomable and Undiscoverable makes himself known by declaring that: –
- The Hand of the Lord is Open in Blessing.
- The Hand of the Lord is Closed in Protection.
- The Hand of the Lord is With us in our Work.
- The Hand of the Lord is Stretched out in Appeal.
I will make no bones about it and state that it is my desire, as I have prayed about this message that I believe the desire of the Holy Spirit is to bring a challenge and an appeal to us all to allow God to move afresh in our lives and to bring about things in our lives which we could never have dreamed of.
I have been reading and meditating upon the book of Habakkuk recently and in “Habakkuk 1:5” it states, “I will work a work in your days, which you will not believe, though it be told you”. God wants to work a work in our lives and to do so in our days. You may think “Oh! I’m to old”, or equally so “I’m too young” or uneducated, ordinary and unimportant. I’m suffering illness, frailty even degrees of mental or psychological incapacity – Well! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOD.
The appeal and challenge are equally to respond to the Holy Spirit in respect of the harvest field that we find ourselves in and surrounds us. Jesus declared in order for us to reflect upon in “John 4: 35″ – “Say not you, there are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” American King James Version and again in order to appeal to us in “Luke 10: 2″ – “Therefore said he to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest” American King James Version.
My desire and I believe the Holy Spirit’s desire is that we re-surrender our lives to laboring in His harvest field. Don’t, and I say this I beleive with all of heavens authority behind it – believe the lies of the devil when he says you are not sufficient for these things because we again are told clearly in “2 Corinthians 3: 5 & 6″ that “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” NIV Version. Jesus dwelling in us right now and in this place is continually being our sufficiency.
When Jesus stood up in the synagogue in “Luke 4: 18″ and declared “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” was declaring the purpose of His ministry then, and now as the ambassadors of Christ that same ministry and anointing continues upon us.
It is aptly put that when we were drowned in the Holy Spirit, our old powerless life died and when we were baptised in the Holy Ghost His Holy Spirit came to dwell in us in order that we might have the power and ability in us to live for Christ on a day to day basis.
His Holy Spirit and His anointing is upon us also enables us to be effective in the harvest field and in His church. His power is us and upon us right now and His desire is that the enabling and empowering that we have received will be manifest to a dying world.
In the Acts of the Apostles when it speaks of the power of God it is relating to what is called the “Dunamis” of God it is where we get our English word “Dynamo” from. Any who have ridden a bicycle in the past which had a dynamo will remember that as momentum was gained the light produced by the dynamo grew brighter and in like manner as we gain momentum in the harvest field will our light grow brighter and vivid and like a searchlight reach into the darkness.
So then how do we see God at work and His hand revealed.
THE HAND OF THE LORD IS – “OPEN IN BLESSING”
It is a fact which is so often overlooked, and we discover that we cannot as it were see the “Wood for the Trees” that the Lords hand is continually open towards us in blessing, and in particular, the “Blessing of Provision”. There are I’m sure many who could testify of the fact that when they have been in need, God has in some way made provision for them.
- Personal Testimony: – I can recall some years ago being in a situation where my business was nearing closure and home was in jeopardy of being lost due to unemployment. It is true to say that on many occasions a choice of whether I ate an evening meal or came to a Church gathering, and if I had fuel enough in my car to get me from Tunbridge Wells back to Maidstone. But I can tell you that even though there was a lot of anxiety and fearfulness God my Father (who knows how to give good gifts unto His children) came through on His promises and in one special moment all was saved from destruction.
- The song writer says “God has never failed me yet” pre-supposing that it is both possible and to be expected – But I say to you today – “God will never fail you”
God has promised that if we will walk in His ways, and we give Him His rightful place in our Lives, which is number one, and will allow Him to sit upon the throne of our heart, that He will make our Cup to Run over, and He will cause our Table to be spread with Good things. There are numerous references in the Bible which show this to us and one is found in “PSALM 145:16” and it speaks of the general provision of God – “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing”.
In “1 KINGS 17:8 to 16”, we have before us an example amongst the many, of God’s individual care and provision. We see that when He provides for us, we are also enabled to provide for others. “The word of the Lord came to him: Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food. So, he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar, so I may have a drink? As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread. “As surely as the Lord your God lives”, she replied, “I don’t have any bread only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So, there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
It is a familiar story to many. The Widow and her Son, they were at the point of starvation due to a famine in the land, and the Prophet comes to the house and requests that they give him something to eat and drink. Her desire even in the desperation of her situation was to provide for others and to keep God first in her life. She was naturally filled with fears and trepidation over the consequences, but nevertheless she did it, and as a result, the Bible tells us that the “Barrel of Meal and the Cruse of Oil, failed not”.
Now the condition of Gods provision in this instance, was obeying the will of God. Then as now, we are all linked, and no one is an island, and particular so in the Body of Christ.
- If Elijah, had decided not to obey the Lord and go to the widow’s house, he would not have been fed, and nor would the women and her son.
- If the women had said no to the request made, Gods hand of Provision would not have been seen, and so the conditions nearly always, for seeing the provision of God, is walking in His will for our lives.
In the life of Elijah God provided in 3 different ways, in “1 KINGS 17:2 to 7”, it was by the hand or should I say the Beaks of Ravens, and in “1 KINGS 19:5 to 8”, the provision is seen through Nature and Angels, and God will provide for all of us, as we keep ourselves in the centre of the will of God, and we put Him first.
THE HAND OF THE LORD IS – “CLOSED IN PROTECTION”
We live in a world which is fraught with known and unknown dangers on every hand. We are faced with impending calamity in the world’s scene, and in our everyday lives we are confronted with situations, which are threatening and dangerous, to our lives.
There are dangers that are just as real in the Spiritual Realm. We have a very real, but naturally invisible enemy, who would as Jesus told Peter “Sift us like Wheat” – “Luke 22: 31″, and would like a “Roaring Lion”, tear us to pieces if he could. The Apostle Peter said in “1 Peter 5:8-9”– “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour”.
He will come in many devious ways, to lead us astray, and to do just what the Bible says in these words: – “The thief (referring to the Devil), comes to steal, kill and destroy” – “John 10:10” and he is doing it continually. But do we need to fear, well fear No! But to assess him with a sensible respect Yes! He is not one to be trifled with, but he equally for the Child of God, is not one from whom we should cower back from and tremble at, for he is a defeated foe, who is doing his very best in his “Death throws” to cause as much damage as possible.
There is a tendency for us, when temptation comes our way and because sin is so rampant, to retreat in our minds and live in a state of continually defeat, we resolve in our hearts to do our best, but are already convinced that it will not be good enough and are prepared for failure. This is not Gods standard and will for us if we are in that category.
Let me tell you again that God gives you permission to be good to yourself and that: –
- He has made you a Success.
- He has given you the Victory.
- He has given you the means of setting the Enemy into flight
He has also promised to protect you, and He will not forget or fail in it: – “I give them Eternal Life, and they shall never lose it, or perish throughout the ages, to all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand. My Father is greater and mightier than all else and no one is able to snatch them out of the Fathers hand. I and the Father are one” – “John 10 – 22, 29-30”.
Isn’t it absolutely marvellous for us to recognise that in these verses the entire God Head, Father Son and Holy Spirit, are at work, and manifesting the Hand of God stretched out in protection. So, do we need to fear and tremble, the answer is a categorical NO!
- Do we need to fear NO!
We need to remember however that it is not in our own strength that we are able to stand victorious, but upon the strength of the Indwelling of God’s Word “Heaven and Earth”, we are told clearly will pass away but it is “God’s Word that will endure forever” – Mark 13: 31″, and it is essential that Gods Word dwells in us richly, abounds, and is obeyed as God speaks to our hearts and minds, because if not, we neglect the means of Gods provision.
One final thing that I would like to mention here also is that in the “Authorised Version” of “John:10” it uses the words “Pluck out”, and this is from a Greek word “ORPAZO” meaning literally “To take by force” it is used also in “MATTHEW 11:2; JOHN 6:15; ACTS 23:10” and it is a further encouragement to fear not, as are the following Scripture that God has given, “Proverbs:18 – 10; Psalm 61:3; Psalm 71 3; Psalm 91:2-3”, therefore we should not fear.
THE HAND OF THE LORD IS – “WITH US IN OUR WORK”
God reminds us that it is Gods time for us to evangelise and to start sharing our faith and experience of Jesus Christ with others. Also, where it is required, to get our Hands Dirty as it were, by involvement in the lives of those that are in need around us. However, what are we doing about it? Are we inviting people to the Jesus, the Church Evangelism Meetings, the Worship Times?
Are we determined to whether we feel like it or not to be enthusiastic and involved and participating because all these features are part of our service to the Lord, and they are in a special way relevant to our trying to win the Lost for Christ.
Do you know of those in need around you, not just Spiritually, but Physically or Emotionally or even Socially? If so what are you doing for them? Praying if so that is great but praying alone will probably not win that person or family to Jesus.
Jesus could have desperately desired whilst in Heaven that the World might be redeemed, and never have come to the Earth. He recognised however the need of “getting His hands dirty” and He came and got involved in the lives of others.
Jesus Christ’s desire is: –
- It is to Free Lives from the Tyranny of the Enemy.
- It is to Heal Bodies.
- It is to Set the Minds of Men and Women Free from those thoughts and those feelings of inadequacy and incompetence.
- and to use you and me, to do so.
Jesus wants to move us from lives of mediocrity into lives filled with adventure, lives in which we are amazed at His power at work in and through us.
It may be His hand at work, and His Power that is doing the work, but it is through you and I that He desires to do it, and without us, He can’t.
We have constant assurances throughout Scripture, that if we ask God to do something for us, He will, and not only that, He will be with us in all that we do. Scripture says to remind us: – “And the presence of the Lord was with them in Power, so that a great number learned to believe, and turned and surrendered themselves to the Lord” – “Acts 11:21” and there are many others, which could also be shared to remind us.
Now we could easily say “Oh, I would like to BUT!“, well let me stop you right there, if you are allowing a “BUT” to enter your thinking, then you are already giving to the Devil the Victory and settling for mediocrity.
There are no Buts, in the Work of God (except those which never rise from their seats). When He says to do something, both those things that are plain and those things that are revealed in the inner recesses of our hearts, He leaves no room for any “BUTS”, because with the calling to the work He also provides the Enabling and the Power, to do it.
Gods Hand is with us in our Work for Him and it’s manifest in His Power upon us, the Word of God tells us in “1 JOHN 2:27” – “But as for you, the Anointing which you received from Him, abides permanently in you” and it is our God given responsibility to allow that anointing to manifest itself in our lives and work for Him.
If we do not allow the in-dwelling anointing to be manifest in our lives and our ministries for God, whatever they might be, then we do harm to God’s Glory and in fact also to the Kingdom of God. Truly, for Heaven’s sake and the sake of the Lost let’s not hide our light under a bushel.
Gods Anointing on your Life enables you to Speak with Authority and to Act in Power, and when you do so, He will back up His Word with the Signs to accompany it. He will support us in our efforts for Him. We won’t always succeed but in it all we will know of His Hand under us in Support. I read just recently the following in a book called “The Incurables” – “Nothing beats a failure but a try”.
The Bible version of this is: – “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him” – “Psalm 37:24” in the context of this promise, it relates to the steps of a “Good Man” the HEBREW word for “GOOD’ man is “GEBER”, and it means “A strong man, A mighty man, A conquer”. It only needs you to believe what God says about you.
THE HAND OF THE LORD IS – “STRETCHED OUT IN APPEAL”
“Psalm 95: 7-8” tells us – “For He is our God. We are His people he watches over the flock under His care. If only you would listen to His voice today! The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts” and again in “Hebrews 3:7″ – “The Holy Spirit says, today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear” – (The Message)
Today God’s hand is stretched out to everyone of us. He is saying to us all, “My children I want to use you, and I want to bless you, in the out flowing of my Power in your life, to enable, equip and empower, will you receive it from me”, but the question is how do we stand in relationship to such an appeal from our Lord and Master.
Will we just sit in our seats and think about it, until the moving of Gods Holy Spirit isn’t felt, letting other issues become so noisy that they block out His voice of appeal to us, or will we say “Lord I want all that you have got for me, I’m determined to let your Hand be seen at work in my life, and to let you lead and guide me, wherever you want, and be determined to be what you want me to be”.
God I am sure is saying that to one and all of us, but are we willing to respond to His Holy Spirit speaking into our lives, or will we turn a deaf ear.
The only thing? I want to say in conclusion is, will you respond to the Lords call in your life right now?
“I will work a work in your days, which you will not believe, though it be told you” is what I said right at the beginning, what work is it that God will amaze you with today?
As you face the heartaches of life, it is only by complete confidence in the goodness and plan of God that you can overcome. The things that could destroy you can become building blocks on the journey of faith as you look for the hand of God in all circumstances. Truly, “This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” – “1 John 5:4”
If you have never confessed your sin and trusted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, life can be a jumble of confusion. But the One who gave Himself for your failures can bring rightness with God, forgiveness of sin, and a new sense of wholeness and purpose into a weary soul.
Christ came into the world because of His love, and that love can bring an end to the emptiness or bitterness or sinfulness that wracks your life.
Do you find yourself today in as it were a valley of decision, feeling pulled one way and another, not knowing whether it would be right to surrender your life to Jesus, well let me tell you “give up the struggle” and discover the truth and reality of the living Christ.
Will you today accept by faith the gift of eternal life and personal forgiveness He offers, for the only way to really overcome forever is to accept the victory of Calvary that He accomplished for you: “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – “Romans 6:23”.
Just before you do just look at and listen to the words of this small movie I have put together.
Starting With God
If today, you have decided to ask Jesus Christ into your life then congratulations, it's great to know you have joined the family of God.
- If this were a religion, you could expect someone to give you all sorts of Rules. Rituals. Requirements. And maybe a lot of stuff to buy!
- But when you asked Jesus into your life, you did not join a religion. Instead, you began a relationship with God. And that’s pretty amazing.
- You might be wondering, how do you get to know God better? How do you get to know God personally? If that is true then don't hesitate to contact us.
- Subscribe and we will send to you a Gospel of John and assist you in your new journey of discovery.