Tag Archive | peace

Be Established in Grace

Hebrews 13_9

What do you need today? God’s provision for  spiritual growth as well as material needs is experienced increasingly more in our lives, not according to our goodness, but according to our belief in His love and desire to provide for us through His amazing grace despite our failures and weaknesses. So let your heart be established in God’s grace (Hebrews 13:9) and abide in His love – (John 15:9). It is in resting in God’s amazing, unconditional love and grace that you as a believer in Christ will be positioned to experience His undeserved, but available provision for you!John 15_9

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your comments and questions are welcome. Disagreements are fine as long as presented in a loving manner that honors Christ. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and for sharing yours with me.

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Resisting Worry

“Worry is a form of atheism, for it betrays a lack of faith and trust in God” (attributed to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen). In this fallen world we live in, we are often faced with challenges that, if we are not careful, can overtake us with anxiety and distract us away from the very Source that can supply our need. We or our loved ones may be facing illness, living in a strained marriage, struggling through a stressed work environment, experiencing a loss of income and the list goes on and on. Worrying about things we have no control over is a waste of our time and energy and can result in “killer” stress in our lives.Keys to Freedom & Transformation

The Apostle Paul instructs us as we face our life challenges: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6). The truth is, we are not created in such a way to successfully carry the kind of burdens we are faced with that come our way as a result of the fallen world and fallen nature of humans. Therefore, Paul is telling us to take our concerns and anxieties to Christ and let Him handle them for us. Christ Himself implores us to do the same: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The Apostle Paul who suffered persecution in all forms and levels, from false allegations to beatings, walked out his journey without stressing these matters. His attitude was: For me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21). What was it about Paul that he could maintain contentment and hold this noble attitude in the midst of all his afflictions? To answer this question, consider the following habits we clearly see in Paul’s life as we read his New Testament letters. These habits give us insight into his worry-less lifestyle:

  1. Paul was totally surrendered to God’s purpose for his life. He knew His purpose was greater than his human mind was able to comprehend. Isaiah 55:9: As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. When we accept this truth as did Paul, we can quit trying to figure out what God’s reasoning is, and instead rest in God and His plan for our lives.
  2. Paul trust God’s love and lordship over His life. He knew that no man or circumstance could take his reputation or his life unless God allowed it. It was his steadfast belief that God was sovereignly involved in the affairs of his life that gave purpose to every situation Paul faced. His attitude was like that of Jesus as seen in John 19:10-11 when Christ stood in front of Pilate. Pilate said: Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you? Christ responded: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…

  3. Paul focused on the reality of eternity and his rewards in Christ. We are able to remain content and at peace in every situation as we view it from the perspective of eternity. Matthew 6:25-40 informs us that as the righteousness of God in Christ, we are the partakers of divine riches. We must do as did Paul and remind ourselves of this. One of those riches is strength for every situation (Phil 4:13). Knowing you have God’s power on your side and that He will meet all your needs, gives you reason to rest. Psalm 1:3 describes the righteous who trust in God as being…like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
  4. Paul prayed and maintained a grateful heart. When we pray, we are releasing our fears and worries to God. As we do this, His peace floods our souls, as He guides us as to what we should do, if anything. There is no situation we cannot take to the throne room of grace, whether it is a situation existing because of our own sin, failure, or poor choice; or, a situation that exists due to something or someone outside of ourselves. We are told to bring it all to God with prayer, supplication (intense fervor) and thanksgiving. We can have such confidence that we thank God in advance for taking care of it. As we do this, we exchange our burdens for God’s supernatural yoke of peace and we discover His yoke is light, indeed.
  5. Paul looked at his present circumstances in light of the promises of God for his future. Search the Scriptures and know God’s promises. Put them on your lips and in your heart by meditating on them. When you are tempted to think contrary to what God has said, take your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) and take authority in the name of Jesus over your thought life insisting on thinking thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). When you are going through a difficult season, you may want to carry some Scripture cards with you and place them in handy places to remind you of God’s faithfulness to bring you through.

    To close, I do want to point out that there are times we can reduce the opportunity for anxiety in our lives by making changes that may be needed. If fretting over the bills, ask God to help you implement a change in your budget and lifestyle. If concerned about your health, take steps to improve it through diet and exercise and your doctor’s suggestions. Taking steps to improve the particular area of life that is giving you concern can help bridge the gap between worry and faith. Still, even in this, your first step is to go to God and allow Him to give you His guidance on the situation. Then, follow His guidance and refuse to be anxious, but instead continue to give all things in and outside of your control to God as you pray with supplication and thanksgiving. He will keep you at peace as you put your trust in Him.

Life Notes: The Key to “Not Being Anxious”

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ”Phil 4:6

Worrying ensnares us and steals our sense of contentment and peace and can even rob us of our health. To quote John Calvin concerning those who live with anxiety, they “wear themselves out and become their own executioners.” So what is the key to living without this type of anxiety?

The key is understanding that although we live in a fallen world where there is pain, sickness and sin,  God  can and many times does intervene; but if He does not, then there is purpose in it. God is sovereign in every situation.

In addition to knowing God’s sovereignty, we need to know He loves us. Sovereignty without love could be scarry indeed. But we know God’s love.  His love has been proven in Jesus Christ. Should we as Christians be experiencing challenging or even painful circumstances, God promises us that there is purpose in it. We see this truth in Romans 8:28, 29. God promises to work every event in our lives for good according to His purpose. And what is that purpose? We do only see in part, however, verse29 of Romans 8 confirms His main purpose in our lives is to transform His adopted children into the image of His Son. He desires us to develop Christlike character and we truly are refined through our sufferings.

Look at Christ as He stood before Pilate and facing death He said to him, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…”  Although His followers could see no purpose in the suffering and death that Jesus was to withstand, Jesus knew that God the Father had purpose in it. The same is true of any situation we find ourselves in. If there is not a purpose in it, God will intervene into the situation and spare us.  Understanding this truth has made a significant difference in my life. Jesus was made perfect at the cross.

I do want to clarify what it is we are thankful for. It is not that we are thankful for the suffering. Christ was not thankful for the suffering He had to undergo. In fact, He pleaded in the Garden of Eden that it be removed. However, He concluded speaking to God the Father, “not my will but yours be done”. What He was thankful for was knowing that there was a purpose in it and that the result would produce eternal fruit. It was because He focused on that eternal fruit that He was able to endure the cross.

We also see this truth at work in Paul’s life. Paul spoke of a thorn in his flesh.

He lifted His hands to God with thanksgiving and made His request for the thorn to be removed but yet if it were not , He was still thankful for the grace of God …the  power of God…that dwelt within Him to enable Him to persevere. (Phil 4:11-13). He could lift His hands to God with an attitude of thanksgiving for God’s purpose to be fulfilled.

Paul said, ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) while maintaining an attitude of thanksgiving while suffering beatings and imprisonment. Although He looked forward to being with Christ and free of this world, He lived to fulfill God’s purpose not only for His life but the lives of others around him. He learned to be content no matter the circumstance he found himself by drawing on the very strength of Christ who dwelt within. He focused on Christ and that He had a purpose in everything. He focused on the truth that God is in control. He focused on heaven knowing that this is not His eternal home but that this will end and the glory that awaited him was not worthy to be compared to the suffering of this life.

If we had a life free of pain and suffering and sin, we would be experiencing heaven. We will not experience heaven until we meet Christ face to face on that glorious day. Meanwhile 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18 tells us to be thankful in all things. We can be thankful in the midst of all things, the good and the not so good, because we know the One who is in Charge, we know He loves us and we know that for those who belong to Christ there is a purpose for our lives.  We can be thankful because as His children, our present suffering will produce eternal rewards for all eternity.

Revelation 21:4

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” 

Examine Yourself for Tapeworms?

Today I had the opportunity to attend a Beth Moore simulcast at Redeeming Love Family Church in Fayetteville, NC.  There was a wonderful group of women there attending from around the state and we were watching this simulcast with a total of 300,000 women from around the world. Absolutely amazing! Pastors Tony and Louisa McKinney and their conference staff did a superb job in serving all of us. 

The conference was on the topic of insecurity and ridding ourselves of it. One of the examples that Beth shared that I thought would really speak to you was an example about a tapeworm. She shared with us that many years ago women would actually purchase cleansed tape worms to use for losing weight. Can you believe it? They would use tape worms (how they knew they were cleansed, I don’t understand) to eat up the nutrients they consumed. She then likened unforgiveness in the life of a believer to a tape worm. All of the spiritual nutrition we receive as we study the Scripture and listen to teachings is eaten up by the tape worm of unforgiveness and therefore bears no fruit in our lives. 

Friends, if you have received Christ into your life, then you have been forgiven of much that you did not deserve to be forgiven of.  The reality of the grace of God in our lives should empower us to give grace to others. I want to encourage you today that if you have been hurt; if you have been offended; if someone has falsely accused you, betrayed you or ignored you, you need to release forgiveness for your sake and for the honor of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  It is a choice we can make as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so. Let them go and watch the power of God begin to flow through your life again.