December 8, 2016
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
In the Father’s Hand
The little boy put his hand in Father’s hand and clutched tightly. The Father held firmly and lovingly the hand of the little boy as they walked through the streets of the city. The little boy was in awe as he craned his neck to see the top of the tall buildings. He was fascinated by all of the sights, sounds and all of the individual dramas that seemed to be taking place all around. He felt the security and the safety of the Father’s hand as he inhaled all of the senses of that were rising out of the city streets where they walked. They walked through some of the department stores with the variety of their wares displayed. They stopped and ate at a local deli where the owner was very friendly and had great food. They waited to cross the busy streets full of living machinery, moving, honking and pressing to reach their destination. They saw men dressed very sharply in suit and tie and they saw men in rags, sitting and begging on the street corners; what a strangely diverse world. It was so massive and grand and yet it seemed in control as long as the little boy held on to His Father’s hand.
The visits to the city became more frequent as the Father always had a purpose for going and He would always encounter and speak with new and different people. The one thing that didn’t change is that the little boy always held firmly to his Father’s hand. The more they visited the city the more the little boy grew comfortable with his surroundings. He felt less intimidated and awestruck and now he was more curious. As his Father would be talking to others he began straining and pulling on his Father’s grip to see some new thing or want to explore some new place.
One day, near Christmas, they were in the city and the stores were alive with animated characters and displays of lights and toys. As they were walking down the street they passed the most beautiful display with automated cars and video games that you could play and all of the things that he desired to have and play with. As they passed he kept looking back, longing to go back to watch and play. Suddenly without warning, he broke his grip with his Father’s hand and he began running back through the crowd to the place that they had passed. He heard his Father calling out for him, but his heart was set upon a mission and that was to get back to the toy store that they had passed a ways back. Suddenly, he forgot all of the caution and the warnings that His Father had given to him. His heart was fixed on one thing; he had to get back to that toy store. As he ran back, he heard the voice of His Father become more and more faint as he became lost in the crowd of shoppers. Finally he arrived at his destination and with joy and delight he played with the interactive games and looked at all of the displays. After he had finally had his fill, he began to look around at where he was and what he should do now. He began to think about the warning and exhortation that his Father had given him, “Never let go of My hand.” He had disobeyed, because he had become more caught up with the world around him than the relationship and the obedience he had with his Father. Now he suddenly found himself alone, lost and with no one to look after him. How would he eat, where would he sleep, who would watch out for him? Suddenly the toys had little appeal as fear began to grip his heart and he began to grasp the gravity of his situation. What if somebody wanted to hurt him or kidnap him, what would he do?
He went over to a bench in the mall and as he set there he began to cry and repent that he had ever let go of his Father’s hand. That grip held him in relationship with the one who was his protector, his provider and the one that truly loved and cared for Him. He had thrown that foolishly away to pursue that which caught his eye. Where he had once held such a reverential awe and respect for his Father, he had on a whim, abandoned Him to pursue the attractions of the world around him. Now he sat there lost, alone, hungry and scared. As he held his head in his hands, he cried and said out loud “Father, I have been so bad and so stupid to run away from you. Please forgive me. Please come find me. I am so sorry I let go of your hand.” After crying and repenting for sometime he finally opened his eyes only to see this large figure before him. As he saw his legs and followed his form upward, his eyes met with the kindest and most wonderfully loving eyes in all of the world. It was His Father. With great joy he leapt into the embrace of His arms and repeatedly sobbed how sorry he was. Their reunion was wonderful as his Father forgave him. The little boy wondered at himself that he could have taken for granted all that He had with his Father to run after such temporary pleasures and delight.
Later, he asked His Father how he found him. His Father said that he had been observing him the whole time from the crowds. He said, I would never leave you or forsake you, but you had to come to that place where you realized what it would be like without me. Only then would you be willing to obey me and never again let go of my hand.
December 7, 2016
The Hidden Things
He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him [were] dark waters [and] thick clouds of the skies.
It is hard to conceive of God in all of His light, glory and splendor being able to go where darkness would not be dispelled before Him. I began the think about the workings of God and how they are so often shrouded in the darkness of our understanding. Spiritually there are so many things that we don’t understand and to the natural man many of the ways of God are foolishness and myth to his way of thinking.
How many dynamics and workings of God are taking place in our lives, even today that we are totally unaware of? If we are trying to grasp and understand God with our natural mind, then He is hidden to us. Does that mean that we can’t grasp and understand the personal workings of God in our lives? We can’t comprehend with the natural mind, but we have another mind that can comprehend the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 tells us, “9However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” It is the mind of the Spirit of God within us that unveils to our understanding the mysteries of the kingdom. It is He that brings the dark things of God to the light of our understanding.
There are many, even Christians, that struggle with what they see as what God has allowed. If there is truly a God then why does He allow so many bad things in the world and why does He allow them to touch you and me personally? Our lack of understanding often haunts us, because our natural mind often can’t rationalize it.
It is imperative to us that we all abide in a place of submission and obedience to the Lord. It is necessary that we maintain a relationship and fellowship with the Lord whereby we can hear and discern His voice, but the truth is, there are many things the Lord is silent to us about. When we don’t hear, when we don’t comprehend, we must trust. Sometimes God requires us to trust Him in the face of much pain and hurt. Sometimes we want to say, “God you failed us, You let us down.” We are sometimes left in the dark about why things are as they are. In these times we have to have enough faith and confidence in the nature and character of God to know that He is working all things to the good of those that love Him and that are called according to His purpose. When we don’t understand the workings of His hand then we must trust His heart.
Yes, God often does dwell in the secret place of darkness when it comes to our understanding of all of His ways, but we are His. A soldier is expected to carry out an order rather he understands the reasons or not. We must walk in faith and obey the Lord rather we always understand His ways.
It is in that special place of trust and obedience where perhaps our faith is tested and tried, but our faithfulness brings us to find that in living in the secret place of the most High we abide under the shadow of His wings.
December 6, 2016
Our Greatest Possession is Love
1 John 3:1,11-19
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not…
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
There is no greater possession we can possess than the love of God. We in fact, as believers in Christ, possess that love, because we possess the Spirit of Christ in us. Christ, is in truth and in deed, the greatest definition of God’s love we could ever have before us. While we use the word love in many different contexts, most of us know that in the Greek there are several words that define different kinds of love which I am not going into. Agape is the form of God’s love with which we are concerned with here today. This is the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. We possess this love because we possess Him. What should define the sons of Gods should be the nature of the love they possess. As we truly possess and manifest this love we will fulfill the law of God. All of the law is fulfilled in His love. Galatians 5:14 says, ” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Normally a person’s first instinct and concern is for themselves, their welfare, safety, needs, wants, desires and well being. The love of God takes this love we have for ourselves and channels it through us to others. We begin to empathize with others, identifying with them by how we would feel in their circumstances. Agape love is totally unselfish, self-sacrificing and treats the needs of others as it would it’s own.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” It does not matter how many gifts, abilities, works, words or knowledge we have, if we don’t possess the Agape love of God everything else is meaningless. There is nothing in the world or in what God has given us that will do more for conforming us and others to the nature and image of God than His love. That love has to be so much more than ideology or theology, it has to be expressed through us in deed and in truth through our actions and our words. 1 John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through us much like John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through Christ. It tells us, “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.” Did you catch that we are to be the extension and continuation of John 3:16? If we are the sons of God should we be any different than the Son of God in our mission and purpose?
When I view my life, perhaps you, like myself, feel like we come up way short of the kind of love that God wants to express through us. We must remember that this is not the kind of love we can produce in the efforts of our flesh. Romans 5:5 tells us, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” So this love is a product that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The way we have more of this love is to have less of us and more of Him. We are constantly maturing in our faith, or we should be, to where the Lord is filling and possessing every part our being. As we walk by the Spirit and have our focus in life fully on Him, His love will be the by-product of the relationship we have in Him. It is not in what we can produce; it is simply letting Him be God in us and through us. We will have His heart, His vision and will be the instruments and channels of His love and grace. We already possess the most precious possession of all. We must just release it and let its fragrance fill the earth.
December 5, 2016
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Endure with Patience
Have you ever gotten impatient waiting for someone, so you finally just gave up waiting and went on to do what you wanted to do? The word of the Lord today is to be patient. Be patient when you don’t see the Lord moving in your life. Be patient when instead of blessing you are going through tribulation. Be patient when there are irregular people around you that try your patience, irritate you or even are abusing you. Be patient as you await the Lord’s coming, because His presence is here now, but His manifest presence is yet to be revealed. The saints have been looking to the coming of the Lord for generations and while they have waited in faith for His manifest presence, His presence has been with each generation. Even now as the Lord encourages us through James, “Be patient”, He is reminding us that there is a fullness of time for every purpose under heaven. For everything there is a season.
Just as the farmer tills the ground and plants the crop, he must endure with patience until the crop is mature and ready for harvest. In the Father’s economy He has planted into the earth and there is time of fullness and maturity when it is time for harvest. Only the Father knows that exact time. Meanwhile, our greatest enemy is complacency and apathy. We begin to let down our readiness and become absorbed in our daily life. Know that we stand today at the threshold. God is giving us a call to readiness if we can hear it. It is a day to light our lamps and make sure that our vessels are filled with oil. The hour of His coming is upon us. Can you hear the trumpet sounding?
It is time to be filled with expectancy and prayer. It is not a time to be grumbling, murmuring and complaining. We can’t be focused on the great deal of the negative around us if we are going to be focused on Him. The Judge is standing at the door. With love and patience endure all things. Trouble, conflict and affliction often come upon the righteous because of what they stand for, but Paul says this in 2 Timothy 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Some of you have been walking a long time and waiting upon the Lord a long time. It may seem time is running out and God hasn’t yet moved as you have been expecting Him to do. God says, ” I see it all and I have my hidden ones that no else or very few see, but I see says the Lord. Your faithfulness and patience hasn’t gone unnoticed and I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek Me. Be encouraged, continue in your faithfulness and stand fast for nothing is wasted in my economy of what you have invested of yourself. I am your sure reward.”
Our salvation is about to be made complete, so endure with faith and patience all that is before you. In the fullness of time He will be revealed and your patience will be rewarded.
December 2, 2016
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Are You Looking for a Welfare God?
God’s kingdom is not a welfare state. It is a state of well being. It is a state that even in the midst of trials, tribulations, temptations and persecution we find His peace that passes understanding. We can have a state of well being, because His being inhabits us and is present with us in all that we endure.
Often we don’t quite understand why God doesn’t release all of the resources of His kingdom upon us, after all we are God’s kids and joint heirs with Christ, so why does God often seem to make it so hard for us?
One thing we can observe from the structure and paradigm that has been developed from our own welfare system and it recipients is this. Instead of a system that temporarily assists people to get them back into being productive in society, in so many cases it becomes the end in itself. People draw from it on a permanent basis with a feeling of entitlement that the government owes this to them. That paradigm is then passed on to the children who grow up with that same sense dependence and entitlement. If God gave us everything at our whim, we would soon adapt this same attitude of entitlement, as if God really owes us anything. It is us who owes Him everything. God gives many blessings and gifts out of His great goodness and generosity, but truly He owes us nothing. It is His very nature of love that compels Him to love us and provide for us not only the way of salvation, but also His exceeding great and wonderful promises. If God operated from our every will and desire, it would be us who would the gods and He would simply be our servant. We can readily see that this is a child mentality. The child wants to rule the parent and in some cases they do, but that is not God’s design. The parents will provide for the child what they think is best, not only for the short term, but also for the long term and there won’t always be a meeting of the minds between the child and the parent.
In Hebrews 5:7-10 we learn something about Jesus as the son of man. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” When Jesus went to the cross it wasn’t the will of His flesh that Jesus followed and obeyed, it was the will of the Father. He was made perfect through what He suffered. He is our pattern. Are we above the master? Perfection wasn’t an acquisition given by right because he was a Son; it is what He entered into through obedience to the way of suffering and sacrifice. We are being made perfect, not simply because Christ indwells us, but because of His grace and presence in us, we also are learning the walk of obedience often through the things that we suffer. It is this reverent submission on our parts that is bringing us into the spiritual maturity as fathers and instructing us in the ways of perfection. In Matthew 5:48 where Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He is instructing us to come into maturity of the spirit by reverent obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit. We are not children gathered around God’s Christmas tree, we are His sons and daughters being trained up to possess the divine nature and to walk in the love and servant nature of our Most High Father. Because He loves us so, He trains us through His discipline that may not seem pleasant for the moment, but will work in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Our lives are not always going to be easy and without trials and adversities, but it is in the hard places that we learn to excel in our faith and dependence in the Lord. It is there that He proves our hearts and perfects us in His righteousness.
If you are in the hard place then rejoice, because God is preparing you for greater things. In the days to come many will be totally unprepared for what will come, but those who have been trained and exercised in their faith will know their God and His faithfulness. They won’t be offended when everything doesn’t go according to their will or thinking. They will know how to trust and depend upon Him to lead them and provide for them in the days of desolation. Thank God that He loves you so much, that He does discipline you, correct you and teach you His highest ways. Be willing to learn obedience through the things that you suffer. James 1:4 exhorts us, “But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Christ in us is our perfection and completion, but it is a work in progress even as it was in Jesus.
December 1, 2016
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Fearful and Unbelieving
I am reminded of a word our pastor spoke recently about how we tend to measure sins by the degree of their sinfulness. We don’t think of telling a little white lie as being the same as murder or stealing. We tend to categorize our sins and even our righteousness. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At this point we might ask ourselves do I live my life out of faith or fear? While we may tend to judge the ungodly for their sin, look who leads the list of those who are bound for the lake of fire. It doesn’t fall in our neat little prioritized list of sins from greatest to least. Sin is sin, but the greatest failure we can have is not to believe God’s Word and to fear the things of this world more than we fear Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the one who can destroy both soul and body. Satan or man can kill the body with God’s permission, but the only way that he can destroy the soul is by bringing us into that place of fear, doubt and unbelief. When we are drawn out of our place of faith in Christ then sin has place to work. Fear and doubt creep in and they rob our confidence and assurance of who we are in Christ.
The conditions of this world can lead many of us to a place of fear and doubt as we see our economy dissolving before us and our way of life, as we’ve known it, quickly disappearing. If our eyes are on the outward things we will begin to be swayed by fear, doubt and unbelief, but this is an hour our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord as never before. This world is not the believer’s economy and kingdom. We have come into a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom economy. Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us about what God has delivered us out of and what He is bringing us into. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It tells us here that we are not redeemed by our righteousness, but by His grace and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’. Many of us have grown up with the concept that we can’t go to heaven until we die, but right here it tells us that those who are in Christ are already seated there in Him. It is our faith in Christ that maintains and secures this position that we have with Him. Fear and doubt bring us out of the realm of godly thinking and trust in Christ and bring us back down into the corruptibility and fear of this world. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The spirit of fear does not come from the Lord. Our courage, our optimism, our faith in the midst of a fearful world is centered in our faith in Christ. In Him we overcome the world, because the divine Overcomer resides in us. ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ In this hour do not let fearfulness, doubt and unbelief grip your heart. You may have been weak in that former man, but that man is dead and you are a new creature in Christ; one that is filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Unbind the strong man, Christ in you. The way you unbind Him is by your faith and confidence in Him. Fear, doubt and unbelief are what bind up the grace of God from abounding in our lives. Rise up and be loosed from fear, doubt and unbelief by declaring the Word of God over your life and circumstances and then praise Him as if you already have the manifestation of it, because you do, but it may not yet be revealed in this realm.
This is what the Lord was speaking into my spirit this morning and I pass on this exhortation to you oh mighty people of God. “Contend manfully oh mighty men and women of valor. Stand your grand. Hold fast your faith. Be not moved by fear or the trepidation of men. YOU are the testimony to the Almighty of His life made flesh.”
November 30, 2016
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
We Have to Let Go to Enter In
This word is not to condemn us, but rather to exhort us to greater vision and higher purpose. Many of us are well meaning Christians who love the Lord and are honestly endeavoring to serve and please Him, but it is in the way that is comfortable and convenient for us. We in America still have our comfortable nests that facilitate our life styles and creature comforts. While our nests have been ruffled to some degree, at this point we see what may be coming, but we haven’t yet experienced the full brunt of the storm. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters in other countries have not only experienced the storm, but are living in it. They have had to come to a choice of which life they are going to cling too and which one they are going to give up. Most of us, quite frankly, haven’t really come to that place of decision. As a result we endeavor to embrace both lives to one degree or another. It is because of this place that many of us dwell in a state of lethargy, complacency and apathy concerning our full pursuit of the kingdom of God and a purpose driven life that we are existing in, outside of the perfect will of God. Our lives are still pretty much motivated and driven according to our own purpose. We are content to pursue, pray and believe for the blessings of God, but are often unwilling to enter into the training and discipline of the army of God that is preparing and entering into spiritual warfare by appropriating the resources of the kingdom of God to bring that kingdom into the earth. We still have our little compartments for “God time” and “me time”.
Unfortunately, for most of us, it may take a radical life changing event to shift us into just which life we are going to cling too and which life we are going to give up. I speak this to myself as well as anyone else, we have been living in a state of compromise. That is why we see impotency of our faith. The results of our faith are watered down just like the faith that we live.
I’ll be honest with you, I am disheartened by the in-part results that I see in our Christian faith. I don’t see that power and authority revealed that I believe that Father has made available to us and I believe it is us robbing ourselves because of the level of commitment that is in much of our faith. I see it in myself and I see it in others.
What would our army be like and how effective or successful would they be if they only fought when they felt like it or obeyed orders if they wanted too or only showed up when it worked into their schedule? What I am describing is God’s army in us. Is it any wonder that we meet with such a small level of success?
The Holy Spirit is not in the business of condemnation, but He does exhort us to godliness and good works. I am not talking about earning our righteousness, but rather being the righteousness of God by lives that are sold out in faith to Him.
Have we really defined which life we are saving and losing? Perhaps we have mentally, but how about in the reality of how we live and purpose our lives?
The people most likely to survive the killer storms are the ones who have prepared themselves for it. We are talking spiritually here and not just physically. There is no time in the middle of the storm or the battle to learn and practice proper warfare and survival; those are the preparations the wise man makes before they come.
This is the final hour of preparation and we must shed our apathy and complacency. We must have an ear to hear the trumpet sounding and prepare for battle. If we really want to save our lives then we must learn to lose our life in pursuit of His.
November 29, 2016
…for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Troubles that Confront Us
Throughout life, those near us or ourselves personally, are touched by tragedy, disappointments, hardship, setbacks, hurts, sickness and trials of various kinds. If we don’t have a revelation of what our life purpose is we can become discouraged, bitter, unforgiving and even blame God for what touches our life or the lives of those around us. Paul gives us a perspective here of a life that is lived and dedicated to Christ. No matter what adversity befalls him, Paul has one goal and purpose. His life, he does not consider his own, but Christ’s and the life he now lives, he lives by faith, not for himself, but for Christ who died and gave Himself for Paul. Whether in life or death, Paul’s life is about living for Christ and fulfilling his purpose in Him. We all need to get a greater revelation of how Paul lived his life. Most of us still see our lives as being mostly about us. In that place of giving life to self there will always be things that we are struggling with that will touch us through our emotions, feelings, mind and will. Things that we struggle with because we are rationalizing them with the natural mind and understanding. For the person that is truly dead in Christ all that really matters is that Christ is fully living through them. Rather good or bad, it His will and destiny that directs their lives and gives them the purpose for living and being. The body and earthly life are but a tool in the hand of God to work His greater work and will through. We are the callused hands of His working in the earth to make a difference in the lives of those He touches through us. We are also the gentle touch of compassion and grace that leads others to repentance. We are His precious hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God into the earth and we do that as He lives and has expression through us. The more of self that is in the way, the more of that purpose is hindered and His true nature is polluted.
Bad things do happen to good people, Bad things happened to Jesus, the Son of God and bad things can happen to us. It is not the bad things that happen that define our life, but rather the goodness of the God that lives within us. We don’t always see the ultimate and long-term purposes of God. The disciples couldn’t see the purpose and goodness of God when Jesus was crucified. When, we, like Jesus are willing to pour out our lives for others then we can have assurance that God will take the seed of sacrifice that we planted and bring forth a harvest. Let us not be so concerned about this current life, but rather living out of the eternal life that inhabits us. Fear God and not the things you may suffer, for as Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” All of this is the preparation for the revelation of the sons of God who will set creation free. Our rest is in our death and His life, so when this life is spent it only gives place to a greater place of glory. It is not the physical death that we must fear, it is the spiritual life or death with which we must be concerned. The purpose of our life is to perpetuate that spiritual life. No matter what confronts us we live out of His life and not our physical strength and being or natural understanding.
November 25, 2016
Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.”
In the Residence of His Being
“Let your hearts be not troubled. Believe in God, Believe also in me (John 14:1).” Burdens are carried when we are in unrest and worry.
I was reading over in Hebrews 4:3 this morning, “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.” It was striking me how God’s work is a finished work from beginning to end. The only way we can be at peace and rest in that finished work is when we are in alignment with it. God knows our beginning and our end. Nothing we can do will surprise Him or catch Him unawares. Our lives and future are still a mystery and an unknown to us, but not to Him. His work is finished and He knows how every detail is going to work out. The question we have is, “do we have enough confidence and faith in God to trust Him as we relinquish our lives and will into His hands?”
Peace is not just a state of being but a Person of residence. The peace and rest of God are found, not in a state of being, but in the person of Christ in us. The circumstances around us and the human interactions that we are caught up in, so often want to dislodge us from that place and person of peace. It must of been disconcerting to those who sought to find fault with Jesus, so they would seek to provoke Him or trap Him, but they couldn’t dislodge Him from His peace. Jesus had the discernment to see the motives of their heart, but more than that He had the residence of the Father abiding in Him. He didn’t leave that place. He didn’t see His world just as it appeared before Him in the natural realm, but He saw it through the love and purpose of God. He discerned the spiritual activity and spirits that were present always scheming how they might kill, steal, destroy and discredit the name of Jesus. Even with their scheming and devices, their was apparent victory for them when they moved in Judas to betray Him and through the Jewish leaders and Romans to scourge, torture and crucify Him. What the enemy didn’t see was the finished work of the Father. What the enemy meant for evil the Father had purposed for good. That is a principle that we need to remember in our own lives in the trials and tribulations that we go through. The enemy may be trying to destroy you, but Roman 8:28-31 declares, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
You see, God is in control of your life. He has your destiny in His hands. If you want the perfect will of God for you, then just trust Him for it and obey His Word. It is only when we quit fighting the water that we learn to swim in it and allow it to carry us rather than drown us. When we fight God through selfishness, doubt, fear, unbelief and disobedience, we nullify the very things that are in place to carry us into His peace and rest. Let us not resist Him as the children of disobedience, but rest in the arms of His purpose and love for us. Philippians 1:6 reassures us,”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.”