Sunday, August 21, 2016

Relinquishment

Relinquishment - giving up, letting go, giving it to another to care for
Have you ever wanted a toddler to let go of something that might not be safe, or might be breakable? They think they want it, need it, must have it. But when you offer them something they find more interesting, tastier, better, they will let go, relinquishing what they are holding on to.
Our Father God wants us to surrender our lives to him. He wants us to trust him to provide for us an abundant life of joy and peace.  But, we think we know what will make us happy or our children happy, etc. So we spend our lives struggling hard with all the complications and obligations of life that can cause a lot of stress which, in turn, can cause problems. God wants us to trust him.
We can’t imagine a God we cannot see controlling our lives. It might be difficult to surrender our lives to him because the here and now, the tangible, is all we’ve known. This step of faith, really is a leap of faith.  When we do leap into the water of unknown depth, this trust in God, we find we don’t die. Life isn’t horrible, trying or disappointing. Rather, it becomes an adventure that gets more exciting as we grow in Him and learn he is trustworthy.
Because we are so limited in our understanding of God and his ways, this appears to be the greatest contradiction of all time - losing to find, dying to live.  It is the kingdom of God way. This life of opposites. Lose to gain. We don’t lose with the goal of gaining. To gain is not the goal. To lose is the goal. We lose all for Him, and the gaining is incidental. In simply walking with Him we find a beautiful life.
Surrendering to God is the door to the rest he promises. We can then say with Apostle Paul that we are persuaded that he is able to keep that which we’ve committed to Him against that day, 2 Timothy 1:12

Matthew 16:25  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his live for my sake will find it.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Normal Christian Life pt. 3

Again, the normal Christian life - This time we will consider how our lives impact others. This normal Christian life includes all of our life. Every minute. When we choose to ignore God and do what we want even for just a few minutes or hours - when we take time off from being a Christian - we hurt the body of Christ. It will cause the body to malfunction.  
His purpose is to show the world his grace and power through those who belong to him, who have been born again, and who wear his name. We may not think our lives are all that important, but stop and think a minute. What lives does your life touch? My life touches my husband and two sons, at the very least, that is only in my home. Outside of my home, my life touches many lives.   
If I take time off while they are around, that affects their life. In turn, eventually, their lives touch other lives. The effect my decision had on their lives will be carried on to affect many others. If I take time off while out in public not only will that affect the picture I portray of God’s grace, but it puts me in a place of being separated from God, unable to hear his voice, unable to be used by him should he need me at that time. I have made myself unavailable to him.
Do you see what implications a life lived for self can have, even for a little while? I ask myself, “Does my life sully the name of Jesus?” Do I bring reproach on the grace of God? Am I bringing dishonor to Christ by my actions?”  
Unless we are a hermit, our lives have far reaching effects. Let’s live our lives in such a way that it will bring honor to God all the time. It is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. But, it does mean saying no to our old carnal self all the time.


Philippians 1:27  Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…
Galatians 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 6:10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Panic Attack

Since I am going to be busy for several days I will publish this post a couple of days early. I want to share with you something that happened to me.
A couple of days ago I saw the devastated condition of a person that I care deeply about and I hadn’t seen in a few months.  It shook me to my core.  Later that evening  I contemplated this situation as I was doing my usual  walk and prayer time.  Tears flowed. Then I felt my throat constrict and my chest tighten. It  felt like my heart was literally breaking. My chest hurt. It was all I could do the keep walking and not break down on a public street. I wondered if this is what a panic attack felt like.  My heart hurt so bad. I could barely breathe.
It seemed like the devil was mocking my faith. It was a full out attack. If I could have seen into the spirit world I’m sure I would have seen demons surrounding me and laughing at me. The enemy is evil and likes to make us think that he has won.
At that moment God spoke to my heart letting me know that although it looked terrible, He was not finished working. A battle may have been won, and the enemy may look like he is winning, but the war is not over.
I realized that just because it doesn’t go my way doesn’t mean that God is not in control. I reminded myself His ways are higher than our ways. Then I took my eyes off the situation and closed my ears to the taunting. I focused on keeping my eyes on Jesus.
He is our source. We lose hope when we look to people to better themselves. Humanly speaking they can do nothing to better themselves spiritually. Only God can affect any spiritual change. And He has his own plans which don’t necessarily match our plans.
In John chapter 15 He said that if we abide in Him we could ask what we would and it would be done for us. And in 1 John chapter 5 he promises that if we pray according to His will we know that He hears us, and we will receive what we asked for. I reminded myself that salvation is God’s will for everyone. So I knew I was praying according to His will.
I took a deep breath and began to praise God for being so kind and patient with me.  I focused my mind on Jesus, and the joy of the Holy Spirit began to bubble up in my heart.  He is so good.

He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Clean!

Clean - sparkling clear, no evidence of having been dirty

  • When we are born again the Holy Spirit  is placed within us - the spirit of Christ.  That spirit is absolutely pure.


Clean inside:
  • Washed by the blood of Jesus makes us absolutely clean
  • All past stains are gone
  • All sins are gone
  • All dirty things we’ve done are gone

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things are new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

If bad things have happened to you, stained you, changed you - you might give up and become what has happened to you.  You  don’t see a way out, a way to undo what has happened.  No way to rid yourself of the dirt.  You are dirty and that is all there is to it.  No one wants you now.  You are dirty.  

Maybe you have given up trying to live clean and have given into the sordid lifestyle that has contaminated you.  No need. God can make you clean like crystal, clear water.  He can go inside and wash away all the dirt, grime, and stains from a sordid sinful lifestyle.  Even abominations can be washed away completely.  If the Holy Spirit is in you because of your new birth, then your are pure - he is absolutely pure.

Isaiah 43:25  “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”

Psalms 51:7 "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Normal Christian Life pt.2

When Paul tells us in the second letter to the Corinthians that God always leads us in triumph in Christ, did he really mean it?  Was he telling the truth?  Always?  Maybe you say that is too idealistic to think that we can always be at peace knowing that God, who loves us, is that capable.


We can be enjoying God’s goodness, being more than conquerors, and have joy unspeakable even when there is no revival going on.  When no one else shares in the joy.  Even when all around our soul gives way.  We can know this - all that really matters is that we are his.  He has claimed us as his own, and we have relinquished all to him for his safe keeping, for his care.


It is a place where we don’t need anything except him.  Other people, jobs, homes, children, etc. will still be important, but God takes priority over everything and everyone.


Corrie ten Boom found in her darkest hour in the concentration camp that she had a joy deep inside her that was not dependent on her surroundings.  It was not dependent on getting enough to eat or enough sleep.  It even sustained her as she watched her sister die.


It is something apart from us.  It is a product of the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is not something we must come up with, but it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Not our fruit.  It is straight from God himself.  


So how do we get this joy that is part of the normal Christian life?  Relinquishment.  Surrendering our lives to God, completely.  Not insisting on having control.  The normal Christian life is the normal Spirit life.  It is his life birthed and growing in us.  That is why it is called normal.


This life is not idealistic.  However, it is a reality that too few of us know about.  Or in my case, it took too many years for God to get through to me that it was something I couldn’t manufacture myself.  It took complete failure on my part before I quit trying to produce the fruit of the Spirit only to find out that he was still there and now had freedom to produce his fruit.  I pray I stay out of the way.


So, yes, “Now thanks by to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.”  We can have a normal Christian life.  Normal in God’s eyes.  If the scriptures says it, then it must be true.

1  2 Corinthians 2:14

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Normal Christian Life?

“Jesus always leads us in triumphant.”  Does that sound like your walk with God?  Do you consider your life a normal Christian life?  Is it full of joy, peace, and victory?  Or is it dimmed by lack of joy and peace?  Are you living under a cloud of depression, maybe not deep depression, but certainly not happiness.  Are you carrying burdens?  Are you worried or disappointed in your Christian life?  Do you consider it a normal Christian life?


What is the normal Christian life?  Maybe what you are living is not the normal Christian life from God’s perspective.  Our normal and God’s normal can be quite different.  It is quite apparent to us that  our lives often do not match up to the biblical descriptions of a Christian life.


In the letter to the Romans Paul says that we are more than conquerors.  When was the last time you felt even close to being a conqueror, much less, being more than a conqueror?  In the second letter to the Corinthian church Paul tells us that Jesus Christ  always leads us in triumph.  When was the last time you felt like you triumphed in the spiritual realm?


Is living with depression living in triumph?  Is living with worries and personal conflicts with family living like a conqueror?  How do the two lives mix?  Are the promises of triumphing just words?  Is anyone you know free of worry and conflicts?  Is there such a life?


Paul tells us we are more than conquerors after he tells us that our lives were crucified and buried with Christ.  It is after we have been resurrected with Christ to a brand new life lived unto God that we are more than conquerors.  In dying we abandon our right to govern our own life and are under new ownership.  When we acknowledge that we have been crucified with Christ we lose all rights to ownership.  Our lives are no longer our own, we have been bought with a price.


If we are in control in the smallest way, we will only yield to God when his leading meets with our approval.  If it doesn’t, then we will ignore him and do what we want.  At that point, we are on our own, unyoked from him.  No longer living triumphantly, we leave ourselves open to attack...leaving ourselves to live controlled by our natural self with all its weaknesses and sinful inclinations.  This is not normal Christianity.  But it is all too common.  It is the accepted normal, but not God’s normal.


God’s normal is dying to be free that we might be more than conquerors!  This is not limited by anything except our faith and willingness to abandon our self to God.  It is not limited to times of refreshing or revival.  He meant it to be the everyday normal life for his people.


Romans 8:37  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
2 Corinthians 2:14  Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Enjoying God

We are encouraged to delight ourselves in the Lord and he will give us the desires of our heart.  
I believe gratitude is the door to contentment and the ability to delight in the Lord.  What does delight mean?  Enjoy.  Enjoy the presence of the Lord as we go through our day.  Just knowing that we are yoked together with him so he shares all our burdens is a big relief.  We are not alone.

Something or someone that gives us pleasure to know is a delight.  Do you know someone who is simply a delight to be around.  They lift your spirits.  The mood is brightened.  A smile comes to your face when you think of them.  Knowing our Lord and his care for us brings a smile to our faces.  

Delighting in the Lord brings joy to our lives.  There is no darkness in him.  He is not a demanding taskmaster.  Whatever he asks of us he provides the ability to do it.  All we have to do is yield ourselves to him.  That might be the hard part for many people because they aren’t acquainted with him beyond a head knowledge.  They might be afraid to surrender their lives to him.

This verse in Psalm 37 isn’t a promise to be used to get what we want.  However, if we delight ourselves in the Lord he will someday surprise you by out of the blue giving you what really makes you happy.  Only he knows what you really want.  

Delight yourself in the Lord by taking time to study his word.  You will never find out all there is to know about him.  His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours.  Even if you have read the Bible through, there is so much more to learn.  Read it again and again.  Read certain books of the Bible over and over again.  You will always learn more about him.

The more we know about him the greater our joy will be until we might feel like we could burst with his joy.

Psalms 37:4  Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.