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The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 08-20-00

"Having the right attitude by protecting our soul from attitude sins."

The doctrine of mental attitude sins.

We have completed our study of PHI 3:14 from the original language which says "I keep on pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God [The Father], by means of Christ Jesus."

A major principle concerning this entire verse is the principle of pressing on. When we talk about pressing on, do not think that we will be purified through extreme vents or by great trials. What God is after is that day-by-day love, that relationship with Him, that one-day at a time dedication. We have noted many different forms of experiencing growth in the Christian way of life. There is losing, waiting, suffering, failing and making mistakes, all are very normal. However, there is another experience that is very subtle, one that sort of grips you without you even realizing it. In fact, it takes a heavy toll on you especially if you live in what you think is a rather regular, mundane kind of life. It has to do with monotony, boredom and routine, and it is here where we need to understand the principle of pressing on.

When we talk of monotony, we don't necessarily talk of inactivity but of meaninglessness, or seeming meaninglessness!

Remember ECC 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might;"

COL 3:17 "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

This isn't so much regarding people who don't have anything to do but rather the people who don't have any real direction, purpose or goal in all that they're doing. We find ourselves in monotony not because of what we are not doing, but, because there seems to be no meaning to it all. Many a mother that hardly has time to look up in her day-to-day assignments of the home is dying of monotony. Because she doesn't sense any meaning in her activity, aside from just the essentials of getting it done, therefore, she thinks it's meaningless. In reality, it may be a part of the plan of God for her life and a manifestation of her pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.

MAT 25:21 "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master."

We may think that what we are doing on a continual and faithful basis is a small thing, God doesn't! Many are busy through the day, but they are bored! The monotonous schedule of work can create boredom.

Psalm 90 addresses the subject of monotony and pressing on.

To start with, notice in the title that it mentions it is a prayer of Moses the man of God.

PSA 90:1 (A Prayer of Moses the man of God.) This is the only Psalm in the entire Bible that is attributed to Moses. Think of Moses' life for a minute, from age 40 to the age 80 in his life where he was; he was leading the sheep in the desert, having been disillusioned in his activity in Egypt. From age 80 to age 120 when he died, Moses was in a wilderness wandering with the people of God. The same terrain, scene, people, same complaints, the same meaninglessness of wandering, but a part of the plan of God. Perhaps the Psalm was written in the middle of the wanderings. The point is it was written by Moses, a man who knew monotony.

He begins by calling on the Lord and simply addressing himself to the Lord and His majesty.

PSA 90:1-2 "(A Prayer of Moses the man of God.) Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. Thou dost turn man back into dust."

The first verses of this Psalm reveal the majesty of God and the last will point out the meaninglessness of life, or that battle that many of God's people face many times, the monotony of life.

Psalm 90:4-5 "For a thousand years in Thy sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew."

With verse 7, there's a change, "For we have been consumed by Thine anger, And by Thy wrath we have been dismayed." When we find ourselves in a monotonous routine feeling that our activities are meaningless, the first place we must look is up. Maybe it is at the end of the day, perhaps in the heat of the day, the monotony begins to come in and we must look up. We occasionally find ourselves having to do a task or a job that seems menial, subservient, having no important purpose. Just getting the job done includes monotonous details that seem insignificant. In those details, if we can see the Lord as our dwelling place, it will put meaning into it.

If we go back as far as we can in our imagination to the end of what we would call, or perhaps the beginning of what we call, the past and you step off, we are at the vanishing point called infinity or eternity past, GEN 1:1. Here, God was thinking about us and our problems, REV 13:8. We can't fathom such a journey, we can only imagine. If we could take ourselves to the farthest point of the future and go as far as our imagination can take us and then step further into the vanishing point of the future, we would realize, there is God, REV 21:1. Pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus means that you have permanent values and all other values are built around that. This is how you "think" as you are looking forward. Once we attain this, our scale of values becomes quite different. If we don't recognize the value of our day-by-day decisions, we will miss out on God's timing and priorities. Character is being built by God in our life through the routine daily functions of our life, without us even knowing about it.

If we look at life as it is laid out before us and dealt out to us and do not see it through the eyes of faith, we will not understand why certain things happen. When we realize that God is the author of life, EZE 18:4, and that He is the one who has determined our destiny, 1TH 3:3, then we see the importance of pressing on and we will understand why certain things are allowed to happen in our lives. When we see things through His eyes and recognize divine timing and the calling of God upon our life, we will realize the fact that in His time, He makes all things beautiful and meaningful, and then we will truly give Him praise, ECC 3:11.

What Moses is saying in Psalm 90 is that as I go from the vanishing point of yesterday to the vanishing point of tomorrow, there is not a place in the entire scope of my imagination where, "You are not there Lord."

There is purpose, meaning, and the presence of God even in the things that we consider to be pointless and insignificant. The man who wrote the creation story had a good grasp of what it was all about. This Psalm reveals that Moses learned that very important and vital lesson: God was in it all. Even in the leading of sheep in that backside of the desert. At times in our life when there seems to be no purpose, when the routine seems meaningless, it is good to remember this is not our world. The earth is the Lord's, and we cannot even pick a flower without God knowing all about it MAT 10:29-30.

The sooner we learn to walk closely with God who is in charge and who does not change, the happier we will be. We get the impression on those tough days that we deserve better, almost as though we own our own lives. Yet in the menial assignments of life, God is reminding us, I own your life, you have been bought with a price, and I have purpose in this.

In PSA 90:6 "In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades, and withers away." This is a picture of the brevity of life, toward evening it fades and withers away like grass, like a flood, like yesterday, and it's all over. Now, that haunts a person who really wants to count or to accomplish something for his life. Someone who wants his life to be more than just a period on the page called "time." He wants at least to have a sentence or two to be remembered by. Remember Jam 4:14 "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."

The perspective in all of this is God's sovereign and superb control where He lets nothing out of His grip PSA 103:19.

PSA 90:7-8 "For we have been consumed by Thine anger, And by Thy wrath we have been dismayed. Thou hast placed our iniquities before Thee, Our secret {sins} in the light of Thy presence."

Verse 10 "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is {but} labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away."

That is a description of a bored man. Few address this issue in Christianity today, but if the truth were known, that's the way many feel. At the end of a week, or if many were honest enough, even at the beginning of the week. Just another week to be reminded of how obvious our failures and sins and weaknesses are.

However, if we are believers who have Positive volition toward doctrine, what should we do?

PHI 3:14 "I keep on pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God [Father], by means of Christ Jesus."

PSA 90:11 "Who understands the power of Thine anger, And Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee?"

This phrase the wrath of God is greatly misunderstood.

Many think that this is some sort of anger God has toward every individual when they sin. A God who explodes in violent uncontrolled displays of temper when we do not do what we ought to. But such a concept only reveals the limitations of our understanding. The Bible never deals with the wrath of God that way. According to the scriptures the wrath of God is God's moral integrity. This means that when man refuses to yield himself to God, he produces certain conditions, not only for himself but for others as well, which God has ordained for harm as a part of the divine decrees. This is the principle of cause and effect, not to hurt us but to warn us that we are going in the wrong direction and that the consequences of our actions are going to hurt us or destroy our lives. The Bible teaches that it is God who allows evil to result in sorrow, heartache, injustice, and despair, 1SA 2:6-7; DEU 32:39; JOB 5:18.

It is God's way of saying to man, Now look, you must face the truth, you were made for Me, and if you decide that you don't want Me, then you will have to bare the consequences.

You see, the absence of God is destructive to human life, and that absence is God's wrath. In His moral integrity, God insists that these things, the negative consequences of our decisions, should occur as a result of our disobedience. His wrath is not judging you for your sin, but by the fact that He is absent from your life and therefore your life is meaningless, worthless, useless, empty, and vain.

The wrath of God is not judgment for sin but divine discipline because of love. REV 3:19 "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent."

Moses is saying that God is not a God in heaven who stands with a club, waiting to crack us. In effect, the Lord is saying, you make a decision not to walk with Me, then I have also set up consequential things that will happen and you will live with those consequences. Those consequences, Moses is calling God's wrath and anger. Everything you think, why you think it, and the environment in which you think it, was all known to God in eternity past. And everything in life is a chain of cause and effect under the law of volitional responsibility. Now, what do you do when you realize how short life really is and is how obvious your weaknesses and sins are and you can't deny it? What do we do with that feeling that comes upon us that produces some secret form of insecurity, guilt, fear, worry or concern? When we feel, "Our days are so empty!"

Verse 12 is the answer. Moses comes to a conclusion.

PSA 90:12 "So cause me to know to number our days, That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."

Meaning that in all the difficulties of life, including those mundane and routine times, we may gain.

So we could interpret this verse like this.

"Cause us to assign or invest our days that we may gain before Thee, he ability to see life as You see it"

That's wisdom!

"Cause me to see, Lord, that when I do the routines of life, that there is a meaning far beyond what I am able to do and see in it." Help us to get the dimension that you have in our lives. Cause me to learn how to make these days investment days.

When you get the right object and the right perspective from it, and you see life though it is short and seems empty, from God's point of view then He brings a song.

PSA 90:13 "Do return, O Lord; how long {will it be}? And be sorry for Thy servants."

When we get in trouble that's the favorite question. How long will it be, Lord come now, come now, be sorry for thy servants."

PSA 90:14 "O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

There is something about the morning that brings something fresh.

PSA 30:5 "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy {comes} in the morning."

Weeping may last for the night but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

The Lord's compassion never fails, it is new each morning, LAM 3:23.

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