James 5:7, "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain."
Psalm 72:6, "He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth”
Rain is mentioned literally and symbolically in the Bible for many different reasons. As I was listening to a Christian program, I was overcome by the one sentence the Pastor spoke. It had nothing to do with rain or this post but it DID inspire me. It seems the Lord has been giving me inspiration in subtle and profound ways of late and as I begin to receive these "thoughts" He's put into my mind for my lessons, I find myself on yet another journey. A beautiful journey discovering the ways that He works in our lives, the ways that He speaks to us and the ways that He shows us His love and compassion.
|Let The Lord Rain Upon You!|
Without the rain, the earth could not endure! Israel, God's chosen land and the Holy place, is a particularly semi-arid land but water there is a sign of it being a "good land." Deuteronomy 8:7 tells us, "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;" Rain is a tremendous force God has put into the world and sometimes God's power can be manifested through the rains! It can be used as a life force as well as destruction, as was the case when the great flood cleansed the earth of it's vile corruption. So it's fair to say that rain is a blessing and a curse or both. Rain is a blessing when it waters crops to grow food. This was God's promise given to the nation and land of Israel. Leviticus 26:4, "Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." God tells us that He will give rain when we ask. Israel is instructed to ask God for rain to water their crops of their land! Zechariah 10:1, "Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds," Then in Isaiah 30:23 it says, "Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures." Notice how God blesses us with rain to cause grain seed to grow for bread, and grass to grow for cattle. So rain also provides milk and meat.
Now let's take a look at how rain is used as a curse. Rain is a curse when there is too much of it! We've seen torrential rains, tsunami's and rains coming down so fast and hard that the earth just doesn't have time to soak it all up fast enough, thereby causing rain to accumulate. God judged the whole earth with a flood but He provided Noah with a way to survive through the Ark. That’s because God saves the righteous from His judgments. What about hail? That's hardened rain. Exodus 9:18 tells us about hail as well. "Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now." See, God God sent Moses to judge Egypt with several plagues. This one was hail. In this time the rain is too hard! Next, in Deuteronomy 11:17, "lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you." First there is just too much rain, now too little; this is the polar opposite of giving rain to water crops. In this instance, God withheld the rain so crops don’t grow. When crops don't grow, they don't produce food. When no food is produced, people don’t have food to eat and eventually die. This is God’s judgment for sin.
Rain is good for wheat except when it is time to harvest! 1 Samuel 12:17-18, "Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.” v18) So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel." A heavy downpour can ruin a crop that is ready to pick. We are all in the hands of God’s provision no matter if we forget that from time to time or we find ourselves embracing it so tightly that our hands hurt! He sends rains where and when He wants to. He blesses and curses where and when He wants to. God chooses the time and place for rain to fall. God chooses whom He will bless or curse. He chooses when He will bless or curse them. He distinguishes between the field of the righteous, and the field of the wicked. He knows the thoughts of a man's mind and intents of a man’s heart. Amos 4:7, "I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered." Curse falls upon the wicked and unrighteous, but the blessings fall upon the saved and the righteous. Sometimes, though, we have to be tested......
But what about when He rains on us for testing and provisions? Let's look at Exodus 16:4, "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." In this verse, we clearly see how this was a test for them while also His provisions! What an awesome God we have! We've all had those days where we've been tested, the skies weren't so blue but were filled with rain clouds. When it began to rain on our otherwise normal day, we couldn't readily see that we were being tested through the rain but was also being aptly provided for at the same time! Rain is a sign of God’s active direction of earth. God directs all of the processes of nature. Every single drop of rain! Who is like God is?! This is evidenced in Job 37:6, "For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength." Rain is a sign of God’s active direction of earth. God directs all of the processes of nature. Who is like God is?! Proverbs 16:15 we are also told of the FAVOR of God! "In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain." Sometimes we are sent trials to bear through and to test the foundation of our faith. Matthew 7:25-27 says, "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. v26) “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: v27) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” This is telling us to make sure our faith is built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ our Savior and not in the sinking of the sand that won't withstand any trials, nor stand in the midst of the storms! We will ALL experience storms in our lifetime and when we do, we better have built our house on solid rock!
Matthew 5:43-48 says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ v44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, v45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. v46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? v47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? v48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
I mention these verses because this stands as a reminder of how we're to do good to even those who hate us, do evil and who spitefully use and persecute us! Just like God makes the sun rise and sends rain on evil (the unrighteous) people AND on good (the righteous) people, we should also be the example of love to our enemies. After all, God extends His love toward us while we are sinners. So too, He blesses people even when they are wicked, so they can respond to His kindness. This example shows how Jesus wants us to get out of our comfort zone, to leave our place of "safety" and "protection" and show His love through us to those who see only the darkness. We were once like them.
Many people have heard the anonymous saying, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain." Since the author is never been revealed, we really don't know what "dance" represents but considering the theme of the saying, I'd have to say it would closely resemble having an intimate relationship with Jesus. We're to rejoice always and that "always" also includes through our rainy days, on our stormy thunderous days, and through the tornadoes of this life! While we are waiting for our storms to pass, or the clouds to part, we still need to remember to remain patient, rejoice in His name, continue to grow closer in relationship to God and to keep the joy in our hearts. So how do we learn to dance in the rain and having an intimate, closer relationship with Jesus?
Psalm 22 when they heard his anguished cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" He also lamented in the Garden of Gethsemane when He begged His Father to remove the cup He was about to drink. It was so intense that he even sweated drops of blood as witnessed in Luke 22:39-44, "Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. v40) When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” v41) And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, v42) saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” v43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. v44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." To lament is way more than just being sad! Here's the official definition, "to mourn or wail aloud; to express sorrow, mourning, or regret often demonstratively; a passionate expression of grief or sorrow; A song or poem expressing deep grief or mourning." So in order to "dance" we need to be REAL WITH GOD! That's the only way we can truly, and fully, worship Him. The Lord God wants ALL of us! He doesn't just want our thank-yous and some happy I-love-yous. He also wants all of our anger, rage, pain, frustrations, fears, doubts, and so on! That's why it's so important not to hold back! It's imperative to surrender your ALL to Jesus!
Philippians 3:10, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death," Lamenting is the one way that we can know Christ in the fellowship of his suffering just like Paul lamented in the above Scripture! Some people, even Christians think of lamenting as more of grumbling when in reality there is a difference, a clear difference. When we grumble, we focus on OURSELVES and we can only see our physical needs. Grumbling is "me" centered. We don't really want, or desire, God's presence at that moment. But to lament is, and always will be, about us being real with God by being able and willing to give Him ALL of our emotions, the good, bad, ugly and indifferent! Then right in the middle of the process of being real, or being totally surrendered, we desire one thing: God's intimate presence!
Our rainy days are often full of doubt, fear, anxiety, pain and suffering just to name a few. Some days are full of all of our emotions and other times, just a few. Some people go through so many rainy days while others seem to have fewer with fewer seasons of rainy days. Those aren't to be compared to eachother because we are individually created, with individual purposes from God, and we are all going through our rainy seasons for specific and unique reasons unto ourselves that is only known to God the Father! I've had my share of rainy days and, as a matter of fact, I'm still in my season and it's been a LONG season too! I am always reminded of one of the most powerful Scriptures for times likes these and it's found in 1 Corinthians 3:13, "each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is." So we may study, but also we may be tested, to show ourselves approved.
We may have long seasons, and in some cases, as is mine, we may have many seasons, but how we go through those rainy days is what will end up mattering in the end! Will we grumble and be self-centered? Will we lay it all out for our Lord Jesus Christ and lament to know Him better? Will we be patient in waiting for the storms to pass? Will we be rejoicing and dancing in His provisions? Fire always will test our faith! Rainy days are often times our "fire." God tests our service for approval to see whether it is genuine. Everything we go through, all the lessons we learn because of it, how we apply it in our lives as well as others, and all that we do in the Kingdom of God will be what our rewards are based on in the Judgment Seat of Christ! Before I go on, I would like to make clear that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for the believers where they receive rewards and the Great White Throne Judgment is for the unbelievers for their condemnation for rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's break that verse down for a little more clarity. "each one's work will become clear" simply means that God will bring them out into the open and the Lord will evaluate each and every believer separately. This is kind of like a performance review and we'll be giving an account of our works in this life to God. "for the Day will declare it" refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where the Lord will evaluate each believer for what QUALITY of work they did for the kingdom. The word “declare” here means literally to prove. God tests our service to see whether it is genuine. "because it will be revealed by fire" means that the fire will be the distinguisher between the genuine and the phony. It's the character of fire to part the destructible from the indestructible. "and the fire will test one's work" There isn't discipline in this testing as there is also no punishment for the Christian at the Judgment Seat of Christ because Christ took all of our judgment at the Cross! Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." To put this simply, the fire is the to distinguish between what God can reward and what He cannot reward. "of what sort is." Sort is indicative of quality, not quantity so literally, it's the nature and the quality of our work that matters and makes a difference, and not the quantity of our work. In God's nature and character, being a just and loving God, He will test everything that we do in the light of His own standards.
|Bema Seat of Christ|
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:" In chapter 5, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to labor for Christ, telling them that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Here it is in it's entirety, "v10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Paul then goes on to say that the judged will receive what is due them, depending on the works they did here on earth. The Judgement Seat of Christ is also referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. v11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. v12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, v13) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. v14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. v15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
Let's see what John writes about the Great White Throne Judgment. First in Revelation 20:11 it mentions the great white throne, "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." The we go to the next verse in Revelation 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." Just like the Judgment Seat of Christ for the believers, we can see here that the dead are judged "according to their works," as well. Revelation 20:13-15, "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. v14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. v15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." So these verse show that the unsaved are definitely judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment will be far different than the loving Bema Seat Judgment of Christ because it's for the unsaved unbelievers. The judgments will be harsh and severe; severe, but fair. I'd have to say that this particular event has to be the most disturbing, heartbreaking and most bothersome event in all of Scripture. Why? Well because, by NOT choosing to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and eternal life by asking Him into their heart, one is simply choosing an eternity of fire and brimstone, all alone, known to no one, tormented eternally, known not even God, in the Lake of Fire.
I know I got off on a rabbit trail but sometimes hopping down the rabbit trail is enlightening and I like to take the scenic route anyway! It's more pleasing, and refreshing, to discover new things to understand the older things. I go where the Lord leads me....and from the rainy days and the storms of this life, He lead me to describing the righteous and unrighteous, the believers and the unbelievers and the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. It actually all kind of falls into place but you can be the judge of that. Someone out there, someone the Lord is leading to this particular post is in need of some of this information I've set before all of you who are reading this post!
OK, so back to going through our storms and having rainy days. I urge everyone to remember that if your days are rainy, even storming to where you think you can't survive, cling to the Lord's Promises, His words, His Love! Those days won't be easy by any means but it's how we respond to those days that's going to matter. That's going to make a difference. And that will impact our relationship with the Lord as well as impact who we become. Who we become in Christ strengthens us to make the impact in other's lives. We may impact those lives while STILL going through our rainy days! They may be watching us from a distance, from afar, watching how we handle the trials, the tribulations, the hurt, the pain, the sorrow. It's all a testimony. All of it! It's all lessons. God is always talking to us, always watching, always loving us.
|Copyright Info Below!|
"On those rainy days, I ALWAYS bring my own SUNSHINE!" God is my Light! Need I say more!
Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying I don't have bad days because I'd be lying to you if I said that because I'm human and let me tell you my brothers and sisters, I've had some bad days. But, I didn't LIVE in those bad days. I didn't LIVE in my tears, my pain, my sorrows, my fears. I lamented! I surrendered! I cried! And then they all were laid at the foot of the Cross for Jesus to take care of! Yes, for Jesus to take care of! I can't take care of those things because I mess things up when I try. I've learned a long time ago to surrender all. It's not always easy especially when we don't recognize something we need to release. But as with everything else, He eventually shows us those things too when we are willing to HEAR His voice! I usually ask Him to take those feelings away and replace them with His promises and to fill my heart with His Light. Although my rainy days may not seem to be ending its season just yet, I bring my own sunshine each day! He's my Light! He's my Rock! I may even grumble a little bit but those times don't last very long. I notice if I remain in that state of mind, it usually takes me a lot longer to "recover" from bad days. So I really try to practice not letting myself get focused on things that the enemy wants to dangle in front of my nose. They're all lies and I know it! I also know the dangers of remaining in the muddied waters left behind in the storms too. Don't stay there! Don't live in the muddy waters! Remember that we need to dance in the rains of our pain because that pain was written just for us!
Pain makes us grow. It makes us strong. It makes us soften the heart. It makes us alive. It shapes us. It molds us. It is a purpose given to us to change us! God is in control and when He is allowed to direct your paths, you have nothing to worry about!
Let the rains wash away all that remains of who you were, how you behaved, what you thought or what you did. Let the rains water and grow all the seeds that have been planted along the way. Let the Lord rain down upon your life and break the mold of the things you cling to. The rainy days might be difficult, but they sure will produce a wonderful harvest in you!
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