Monday, September 17, 2018

Troubled with Second-Guessing? Let His Peace Rule In Your Heart

Now, when I am faced with difficult decisions, how do I deal with it? Before, it was nothing but inaction and frustration. I just feared the worst all the time. I was so dependent on someone else telling me "good" or "bad" about any decision I made. Would I have to depend on someone else after the fact giving me the OK?

No! We don't have to settle for that. God guides us now by His peace in us!

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

"Rule" speaks of a judge presiding over a case. If there is no peace about something, then don't do it. 

I didn't feel peace for a long time because I was constantly worried about God being unhappy with me doing something that He would or would not approve of.

Now that I know that His never-ending gift of righteousness assures His peace with me, and mine with Him, I can allow His peace to act as a guide, a judge, an umpire in every case, in every decision.

Let's remember that our starting point with God is peace:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1)


"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;" (Ephesians 2:14)

Let's rest in the truth of God's gift of righteousness. We need never fear that God will be angry with us again. We should never have a sense of fear or foreboding towards God. His peace is our constant now.

We need never play second-guessing ever again! Let His peace rule in your heart!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nothing Can Separate Me From God's Love

God loves me, and nothing can separate me from His love.

In contrast to this truth, Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that to be angry, to be upset cuts us off from the "sunlight of the spirit."

That is not true.

I am certain that I have written about this topic many times before, but I am interested, invested in writing about it again.

Paul writes to the Romans:

"35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

"36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

"37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)

Nothing can separate us from God's love at all.

Yet I used to think that I had to work as hard as I could to "feel" a certain way. I needed to get all the bad emotions out of my head, my mind, my anything in order to function in the world. This contortion brought me so much pain, so much frustration.

"What if I have that memory and I get mad all over again?" I would think. I was reflecting so much on myself, on my emotions. There was so much bondage that had overcome me on account of this. I felt that I had to go out of my way to tell someone how angry, how hurt I was about the different behaviors, the different pains, the different sentiments of outrage which I had gone through.

God, what a miserable life I led. I was so easily offended, that I just didn't want to interact with anyone anymore. The power ended up in other people's hands. People could say or do just about whatever they wanted, and no matter what happened, I could just get so easily upset, then I got upset about being upset ...

And what was the root of all this bondage?

That getting angry, hurt, confused, whatever was going to separate me from God, that it was going to bring into some kind of emotional bondage.

Yet I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:6).

I start at the finish line, I start with being complete in Him (Colossians 2:15), and this peace no one can take away from me. I can even tell my loving Daddy God that people make me feel bad, sad, mad, glad, whatever.

He is still there loving me, and He invites me to gain a greater revelation of His love for me, too.

This is just awesome and has given me a greater release into this life!

Monday, September 10, 2018

God Tested Abraham, To Show How Faithful He Was!

1And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:1-2)

This translation right away sets up the problems for many English-speaking Christians and their understanding of this beautiful account in God's Word.

First, we see a beautiful type of God's love for us, in that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ for us (John 3:16).

While Abraham was ready to slay His Son--and God ultimately told him not to--God did not spare His own Son:

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

The first mention of "love" in the Bible appears in this verse, too.

This is about God's love for us.

Now, that word "tempt" in the King James Version is inaccurate. It should be "test", the same way that smith would test gold to demonstrate that it's pure. This test was to demonstrate to the world that Abraham was fully faithful, the father of faith, and that he would be the father of us all who live by faith:

"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all," (Romans 4:16)

For two decades, God delivered on His promises to Abraham, even when our father of faith failed time and again. What mattered to God was that Abraham continued to trust God's promises, as did Sarah, even when we find in the Old Testament that their faith wavered initially.

The point is that Abraham continued to see the LORD as one who would provide for him in every situation. When God promised to make Abraham rich, He did. When God promised to make Abraham victorious, he was able to defeat kings and their armies with a small band of 318 people. When Abraham needed water, God provided a number of wells, and his enemies sought him to make an alliance.

When Abraham sinned, God continued to favor him anyway, showing that it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

When God promised a son to him through is lawful wife, God came through.

Abraham had seen enough of God's goodness, that when God commanded Abraham to offer up his son Isaac, the son of promise, the son through whom all the nation's of the world would be blessed, Abraham did not hesitate one bit.

He trusted God completely. Consider what Isaac asked, and how his father responded:

"7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." (Genesis 22:7-8)

What did Abraham believe at this point?

The writer of Hebrews explains so beautifully:

"17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:17-19)

Abraham believed the Lord (Genesis 15:6), and the fullness of his faith was revealed that day. Abraham knew that the LORD God would:

1. Provide a lamb in place of his son.
2. Resurrect his son if Abraham had to sacrifice him.

Abraham had seen God worked unspeakable miracles in his life, and in so many ways.

Abraham was dead as far as child-bearing is concerned. His wife Sarah was barren. There was no way in terms of the world's view that she could ever have children.

Yet she had given birth to a son, and in her old age.

Sarah would even laugh with her family:

"6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age." (Genesis 21: 6-7)

Abraham not only believed that God would bring His Son back to life, but Abraham new that God would follow through on the greater promise, that through his Son Isaac all the world would be blessed.

He would have many descendants, like the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore. And that through Him, The Serpent-Slayer (Genesis 3:15), the Savior of all Mankind would come!

"15And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22:15-18)

Today, we are all children of Abraham!

"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29)

God did not tempt Abraham to sin. God did not test Abraham to see if he would measure up or pass this test.

God tried Abraham to prove to the world that he was indeed faith, and the Father of faith for us all!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

God is Good, God is Merciful--Therefore, Praise Him!

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalm 118:1)

Many people think that they have to praise God in order for Him to do things in our lives.

The truth is that God is Good, that God is Merciful.

Consider that God sent His Son Jesus into the world for us (John 3:16).

In fact, Psalm 118 refers to God as our Salvation!

"14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation." (Psalm 118:14)

He loved us before we even knew about Him or even cared:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

We were still sinners. It's not just that we sinned, but we were defined by our sin.

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5)

and also

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12)

Yet in spite of all that, God so loved us, that He sent His Son not just to die for us, but to become our life (Colossians 3:4) and our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Consider what John writes in his First Epistle:

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:11)

and then

"We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19, NIV)

God is not just good, but He is good to us!

Notice in the next verses of Psalm 118 the different groups, the different people who are called upon to praise the Lord:

"Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

"Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalm 118: 2-3)

First the entire nation, and then the priesthood, and then the Psalmist speaks for everyone who fears (believes on) God, and then He speaks for Himself:

"Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

"I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place." (Psalm 118: 4-5)

Again, God is good to us, and for that He elicits our praise.

Beloved, don't think that you have to flatter God to do something good in your life. He is our Life, and He is committed to blessing us in every way that He can!