Saturday, February 22, 2020

What It Means to Rest in the Lord


"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)

Image result for Hebrews 4:11

This revelation about God's rest is becoming more prominent for me.

For the longest time, I didn't understand what God's rest was all about.

Now I get it.

He is our life, He is our majesty, He is at work preparing all things for us.

He is actively at work in and around me. I do not have to conjure Him up, so to speak, or beg Him to start moving in my life.

In fact, He is our life!

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6)

"Apart from me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)

and

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)

But we have a hard time believing that. I know that I have had a hard time resting in that revelation.

He is actively at work behind the scenes. I do not have to keep myself up awake at night, covering all the bases and the angles. He is taking care of me. He has it all taken care of for me.

It's not a game. It's not a joke. His presence in my life is not based on what I am feeling or thinking.

It was all paid for, provided for when Jesus declared on the Cross "It is Finished!" (John 19:30)

For the longest time, I was still looking at my circumstances, at the people in and around me, or the activities and outcomes coming my way, and would then conclude whether I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing.

Crazy, but true. There was a great deal of unlearning I had to endure. Alcoholics Anonymous, the law-centered preaching of so many pastors, preachers, and teachers had done their damage for a long time.

For the longest time, I woke up every day as though the day depended on me. Nothing would or could get done without me. I really believed that I was on my own.

Jesus, You are the Way! You provided the path for me!

And all this time, I was constantly living in doubt, doubting myself, doubting what others were saying and doing, wondering what to do, what to say, or how to navigate through this life.

So, all these years, a sense of pressure, a sense of urgency, this constant sense of "pushing myself" was a mainstay in my life. I had to be my own internal scold to make sure that things were taken care of. I was constantly having to be hard on myself, because if I was not vigilant, then nothing would happen.

Wow! Talk about arrogant! But I admit it today. That is how I thought, that it was I felt, and that is often how I behaved. God has provided everything for me. He is prompting me with His will, His desires for me. It's so wonderful to realize, to finally understand that I am not, nor have I ever been alone in this world.

I have been taking my blood pressure for the last few days. I have steadily withdrawn, taken less lisinopril over the last eight months following my stroke. And now my blood pressure has decreased considerably more since I realized that I did not have to stoke or provoke outcomes through my own efforts. This is really quite something!

I can relax, and recognize that through God's grace, all things will be taken care of in due time. I don't have to stress or fret about timing, outcomes, and deadlines. He is at work in me, and He is making all things work together for my good! (Romans 8:28)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hoping in God, We Will Never Be Put To Shame

"Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause." (Psalm 25:3)



When we wait on the Lord, we must know and believe that He is doing nothing but good, and preparig nothing but the best for us.

Consider the first mention of "wait" or "qavah" in the Old Testament:

"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." (Genesis 1:9)

The last mention occurs in the prophet Micah:

"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." (Micah 5:7)

Consider also what Isaiah declares:

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

There is no shame, but great strength for us who wait on Him.

We trust in Him to come through for us, and we know that if there is a delay, He has a reason for doing so

And remember, no matter how long a matter may take to be resolved, don't ever think that God is angry with you!

"For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." (Isaiah 54:9)

But also:

"Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more." (Isaiah 54:4)

There is no fear of shame, and there is no shame in hoping in God to come through for you!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Trials Make us Patient, Cheerfully Enduring, Receiving More Grace

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:3)

Going through a hard time now?

God is with you, even in the midst of the hardest trials that you may face:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

That's an iron-clad, double-negative guarantee.

Because of what Jesus accomplished at the Cross for us (Isaiah 53), we have another beautiful promise from our Loving Father:

"For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." (Isaiah 54:9)

God will never be angry with us ever again! Can you imagine that?

So, when trials, when hardships, when negative outcomes come our way, we should never feel that God is punishing us. We should never fall for the lie that we have done something wrong, and therefore God is "getting even" with us.

Not at all. In fact, we have a deeper promise:

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7)

God wants us to have more faith in Him, to trust Him to bless us in all things.

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

and

"3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:3-5)



The patience that God wants to develop is a "cheerful endurance." No matter what is thrown our way, we rest in the truth that our God is greater than any circumstance!

God wants us to depend on Him for more things in our lives. In fact, Paul writes that we live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20-21)

However, there are aspects of our lives where we are still depending on our efforts, coming under law.

We live by faith, but in some areas of our lives, we are still prone to rely on our efforts. Such self-effort frustrates God's grace:

"4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4)

We are called to receive more of

"Ye have fallen from grace"

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

Every weapon will fail, even if they are a result of our own failings.

So, we should not feel sad, discouraged, or even angry when bad things come our way.

What are they for, then? Why are these bad occurences allowed to ... occur?

To refine our faith, that we stop relying on our own efforts and trust more in His grace! (Romans 5:17)

Trials take place to build our character, to trust Him more, to trust ourselves less, and to receive more of His grace in our lives.

So, cheer up!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

There Will Be Hard Times, But Rejoice - Here's Why

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)



Some Christians have this misguided idea that because they have been saved, because they have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), everything should be "Easy Street" going forward.

That is simply not true.

Jesus, before He delivered High high priestly prayer, before He was dragged before six false courts to be judged guilty for nothing, then crucified, told His disciples: "You will have tribulation in the world."

But there's no reason for us to panic, fear, or be discouraged.

Jesus overcame the world when He died on the Cross.

Jesus announced to His disciples what His work on the Cross would accomplish, with the Holy Spirit coming into the world:

"8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." (John 16:8-11)

The world will be reproved for its sin.

Yes. They will not get away with it. The conviction that comes upon the world comes from the fact that they do not believe on Christ Jesus.

The world will bring its troubles, the world will throw troubles and trials our way, but He has overcome the world (John 16:33)

John expounds on this further in his First Epistle:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

and

"4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.


"5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5)

He has overcome the world.

We believe on Jesus.

Through Jesus, we overcome, too.

In fact, Paul put it so simply:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

In all things, not some things, we are more than conquerors. Yes, there will be hard times, but so what? He has overcome them, and we are more than overcomes in Him!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

He Is My Life, and Now I Am Dead to Sin

This is so exciting.

This is so, so exciting!

Jesus is my life. He is alive. He is taking care of me every day of the week, every week of the year.

It's not about controlling my flesh anymore. The flesh is not me.

I can't believe it has taken me this long to understand that Jesus is my life.

I do not have to correct my "feelings" or thoughts.

They are not me.

This is not a life of trying to be good, trying to be bad, trying to be anything.

This is Jesus, my life!

Wow!

For the longest time, I wrote about this

Whenever I had fears, worries, hurts, I kept thinking that I had to do something about them. I would focus on ignoring bad thoughts and feelings, but then I would get focused on "What do I do now?"

Today, Oh Happy Day, Today!

Thank God for Pastor Joseph Prince!

Thank you, Jesus, for Pastors who have the resolute courage to announce who we are in Christ Jesus!

Check out these revelations, right from God's Word:

"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6: 8-11)



We are dead to sin.

It's not who we are. There is still flesh, but it is not us.

I have received Himself, I have received His Life.

I am part of Jesus!

"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." (Ephesians 5:29-30)

This is no joke. This is not a game, this is not a mind-bending trick.

I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. We are inseparable.

I am part of His body. This part helps to explain:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

The thing that he has really caused all of this to come to such wonderful fruition is that I was so busy looking at my thoughts, my feelings.

I kept thinking that those feelings of fear, angry, resentment, lust, etc. -- those were "my feelings" that I had to do something about.

Today, Oh Happy Day! I realize now what has been preached to me all this time.

Of course I can declare "Don't be bullied by your body." We have a body, but the body is not who we are in full. I am a spirit, I possess a soul, and I live in a body, a body which will one day be fully redeemed. AMEN!

Why has it taken me so long to get this?

Because I kept trying to be the righteousness of God in Christ, when I already was the righteousness of God in Christ.

Paul writes this powerful revelation clearly in the past tense:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

He--God the Father--made (past tense) Jesus sin for us -- that we might be made (not "become", not "will become" but past tense "be made"--the righteousness of God in Christ.

I am not trying to be righteous, and when I declare that I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ, I am declaring a fact. I am renewing my mind to the truth of God's Word (Romans 12:1-2).



As long as we refuse to reckon ourselves dead to sin, as long as we continue to believe that the sin in our flesh is still something that we have to deal with, then we are declaring that Jesus somehow did not complete a perfect work at the Cross.

But that is simply not true!

Now, what was happening in my life, and what happens in the lives of many Christians, that they end up in the Romans 7 experience?

They keep trying to fix their flesh, not reckoning themselves dead to sin. They still try to keep the law, thinking that the Ten Commandments are a standard to live by, when in fact they are a standard which no one can keep, showing us our dead-in-trespasses state, and thus our need for the Savior!

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

and

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

Paul could not have been clearly:

"23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-25)

Jesus is our Life, and it is a life of walking in the Spirit, not the Flesh:

"3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:3-4)



and also

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

So, when there are feelings of wrath, rage, lust (works of the flesh), we are to reckon ourselves dead to those sins (Romans 6:11), and to the sin in our flesh.

It's not something we have to do anything about it!

HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

God Transforms Evil for Our Good Masterfuly



"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

That word "meant" is chasab, and it means "reckon" or think.

It's first mention occurs in Genesis 15:6

God took Abraham's faith, and reckoned him as righteous!

This word chasab also appears here in Exodus:

Exodus 26:1 
HEB: כְּרֻבִ֛ים מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵׁ֖ב תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָֽם׃
NAS: the work of a skillful workman.
KJV: [with] cherubims of cunning work
INT: cherubim the work of a skillful shall make
Exodus 26:31 
HEB: מָשְׁזָ֑ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵׁ֛ב יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָ֖הּ
NAS: the work of a skillful workman.
KJV: linen of cunning work:
INT: twisted the work of a skillful shall be made cherubim
Exodus 28:6 
HEB: מָשְׁזָ֖ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵֽׁב׃ 
NAS: the work of the skillful workman.
KJV: linen, with cunning work.
INT: twisted the work of the skillful
Exodus 28:15 
HEB: מִשְׁפָּט֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה חֹשֵׁ֔ב כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֵפֹ֖ד
NAS: the work of a skillful workman; like the work
KJV: of judgment with cunning work;
INT: of judgment the work of a skillful the work of the ephod


It speaks of the skillful work invested in the creation of  the Ark of the Covenant.

So, going back to Joseph, when his brothers feared that he would wreak vengeance on them because they had betrayed him and sold him into slavery, Joseph told his brothers:

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."

That word "meant" is chasab, that God masterfully, skillfully turned the evil intended against him for his good.

We have this promise today because of Christ Jesus!

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Jesus took all the sins of the world, and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God will take whatever bad the world throws at you, and make it work for your good.

Believe it!

Monday, December 9, 2019

He Is A God to Me, Because He Has Forgiven Me of All of My Sins

I used to wonder if God was on my side.

I wondered, not sure if God was going to come through for me or not.

This lack of faith was quite disconcerting for me, I must say.

For the longest time, I used to believe that God was present to me only if I was thinking about Him.

But that is not how it works.

He is a God to me because of what His Son accomplished at the Cross.

God is for us not because of anything that we have done, but because of everything that He has accomplished at the Cross.

Consider the elements of the New Covenant:

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)



WHhy is God a God for us?

It's all in verse 12?

"I will be merciful (more accurately, propitious) to your unrighteousness, and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more."

God has put away all our sins, and He did this through Christ Jesus!

For the longest time, I was convinced that God's presence in my life depended on my feelings, depended on my thoughts.

I had to feel a certain way, or I had to make sure that I was thinking about God all the time. It's insane that I had such overwhelming destructive thought processes, but that's the torture and pain that I went through.

Today, I recognize, I see Jesus, alive and full of love for me. I see God my Father, alive and full of love for me. I recognize today that He has been actively caring for me, caring about me all this time.

I so limited God. I did not see how rich, how good, how wonderful He is.

Jesus, thank you for the love that you have for me. Thank you, Father, that You are a God to me! Thank you that you have always been there for me, no matter what is happening. I cannot thank you enough.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

This "if" is not a conditional "if" based on something that we must do. It's a statement from one logical affirmation to the next.

God is for us! Therefore, who can be against us? Who indeed? Exactly,