I am re-posting a word I received a few years back, at the instruction of Holy Spirit. I pray that it speaks to you again today, as it did to me!
4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint;
5 when men are afraid of heights and of terror in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home , and mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,
7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Clearly the Teacher who wrote these verses (Solomon) is prophesying about a time at the end of the age, when there is terror in the streets, when food is scarce, and not even water can be found at the springs. He sees a time when the earth is returning to dust and gold and silver can no longer "save" us. In those days the doors are closed, and I thought of the passage in Isaiah 26, when God's people are told to "go into your rooms, close the doors, and hide yourselves for a little while" as God's wrath passes over. Yet even in the midst of these dark and gloomy verses, the phrase "when the almond tree blossoms" bursts forth in surprising, unexpected delight! The almond tree is usually symbolic for Yahovah's authority and sovereignty, just as Aaron's staff that budded with almond blossoms, right in the midst of Israel's slavery in Egypt!
"I am still here on the Throne," our Elohim is saying, "and you must not be in fear in these days, but you must be doing what I have called you to do."
"Tell me more, then, Father. What have you called me to do?" He summed it up in verse 13:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
Will the stock market crash again? Undoubtedly. The golden bowl will be broken, the sound of grinding will cease, and the sun and moon will turn to darkness. But the Light of our God will burn ever brighter, and the sons of God - those who have held to the testimony of Yeshua and kept His commandments - will shine ever brighter. In fact, as we are told in Daniel 12:3 - Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end..."
Following Bible study, we enjoyed lunch with a 92-year-old resident of the retirement home. He said, "I've heard about you guys. What denomination are you?"
Especially in his generation the label was important. It defined a person. "Are you a tongues-talking Pentecostal or a Bible-thumping Baptist, or are you a Lutheran or Episcopalian who doesn't utter such things? What are you? I need to put you in one of my boxes." That's really what he was asking.
I smiled and gently responded, "We are not in a denomination. We are followers of Jesus Christ, the Savior." The 92-year-old brain, still keenly functioning, stopped to process my answer. Then he nodded, as if he accepted it, and it would be okay if we still had conversation!
I'm glad I don't have a label anymore. I don't judge those who do - we are all on this journey with the Master, and many of us have worn lots of labels as we grew and took new steps. Every step was and is important as we follow our Messiah and the ultimate goal for us all is to become like Him.
There is another step, though, that we all must take. We need to stop measuring our "success" in the journey by what we DO. Sometimes I think believers get trapped by the mentality of the "scouting syndrome." Were you a girl scout or a boy scout? The goal was always to get another badge! I was a Brownie Scout and then I graduated into Girl Scouts, and I can remember striving to have more badges on my sash than anybody else in my troop! We are so trained to climb the ladder of success and prove ourselves.
But Oswald Chambers writes, "If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing YOU; all that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time. It takes God's Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable."
After reading that devotion this morning, I sat with my Lord and we had a very short conversation. I heard Him say to me, "You told the man you are My follower. How do you do that?"
"I love you, Lord," I replied.
"How do you love Me?"
"I keep your commandments."
"How do you keep them?"
"By loving others."
I think He nodded - just as the 92-year-old man nodded - and I become more and more aware of the simplicity and the gentle joy of serving the Master.
Kelly Ferrari Mills