Friday, December 9, 2016

MY ROCK, FORTRESS, DELIVERER, REFUGE, SHIELD, STRENGTH, AND HIGH TOWER

There have been times in my life, when I wish I could just have a reprieve from life, a vacation of sorts, or some way to escape all of it… the anxiety of it, the apprehension and uncertainty of the future, the pressures, the problems that seem unsolvable, and so on. The funny thing about vacations, is that you can change scenery, and even get away from some of life's pressures, but they are always there with you in your mind, never really ever giving you relief from them. You always have to go back to them, and many times I've said, "I need a vacation from my vacation," once it's over.

I find comfort and strength many times in the Psalms, and this Psalm especially touched me this morning, as well as some of the commentary I read on it. All of Psalm 18 spoke to me, but especially verse 2.

Adam Clarke:

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalms 18:2)

The Lord is my rock -
2. I stand on him as my foundation, and derive every good from him who is the source of good. The word סלע sela signifies those craggy precipices which afford shelter to men and wild animals; where the bees often made their nests, and whence honey was collected in great abundance. “He made him to suck honey out of the rock,” Deu_32:13.
3. He was his fortress; a place of strength and safety, fortified by nature and art, where he could be safe from his enemies. He refers to those inaccessible heights in the rocky, mountainous country of Judea, where he had often found refuge from the pursuit of Saul. What these have been to my body, such has the Lord been to my soul.
Deliverer -
4. מפלתי mephalleti, he who causes me to escape. This refers to his preservation in straits and difficulties. He was often almost surrounded and taken, but still the Lord made a way for his escape - made a way out as his enemies got in; so that, while they got in at one side of his strong hold, he got out of the other, and so escaped with his life. These escapes were so narrow and so unlikely that he plainly saw the hand of the Lord was in them.
5. My God, אלי ,doG Eli, my strong God, not only the object of my adoration, but he who puts strength in my soul.
6. My strength, צורי tsuri. This is a different word from that in the first verse.
Rabbi Maimon has observed that צור tsur, when applied to God, signifies fountain, source, origin, etc. God is not only the source whence my being was derived, but he is the fountain whence I derive all my good; in whom, says David, I will trust. And why? Because he knew him to be an eternal and inexhaustible fountain of goodness. This fine idea is lost in our translation; for we render two Hebrew words of widely different meaning, by the same term in English, strength.
7. My buckler, מגני maginni, my shield, my defender, he who covers my head and my heart, so that I am neither slain nor wounded by the darts of my adversaries.
8. Horn of my salvation. Horn was the emblem of power, and power in exercise…The horn of salvation means a powerful, an efficient salvation.
9. My high tourer; not only a place of defense, but one from which I can discern the country round about, and always be able to discover danger before it approaches me.

Jamieson, Faucett, & Brown commentary: He conceals us (the cleft of the rock) and is an immovable strength in us, He is the power and strength of our salvation. He alone IS our salvation. " The horn, as the means of attack or defense of some of the strongest animals, is a frequent emblem of power or strength efficiently exercised"

He is my "tower" - a high place out of reach of danger. Spiritually speaking, there is no power in this world that can hurt me, because He is all that to me and in me. They may kill the body, but all I really am is His and He is in me. And one day this body will be redeemed as well, and will be untouchable by any evil, just as His is now.

I may not be able to remove myself, physically from this world, or from the pain in my body, or the weaknesses of my flesh, or the trouble that presses in around me, but I do have a place I can go in my inner being, to hide myself in Him, to strengthen my soul, to refresh myself, and to stand strong, and walk. I have His very presence in me that I can turn to, that I can draw from, and that enables me to have insight that I need, wisdom for what I need to do, protection, assurance, and help. His presence alone strengthens my soul. As Christians we have so much yet neglect it, and strive so hard in our own strength and by our own resources all too often instead of learning what it means to be His child and the privileges that go along with being that. We fail to learn Who He is to us, what He is to us, and just what resources we have in Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

What an awesome, wonderful, faithful, strong and mighty God we have Who does all on our behalf! Teach us, Lord, to dwell in Your secret place, abiding under the shadow of Your wings, that we might always find strength for our souls.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

MY HEART AND MY FLESH MAY FAIL, BUT GOD IS THE STRENGTH OF MY HEART

Psalm 73 is one I read a lot in these days of turbulence.  It seems that evil is prevailing in the world many times.  They are too strong for us.  Too powerful.  We have no way to stand against it or defeat it, and we see no justice.  Time and time again we see the good trampled down, the righteous oppressed, tormented and killed.  We see lies spoken as truth and truth as lies. We see good being turned to evil and evil to good.  What are the righteous (those made righteous by the blood of Jesus Himself, not by any merit of their own) to do?

Psalm 73 tells the story and reminds us God does see.  He hears.  He does bring judgment in His day, in His time, and He holds onto His children, reminding them that He alone is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.  We find we have no real portion in this world, no riches of this life to speak of, and we find Him to be our life, our riches, our portion, and find contentment in Him.  One day we will be with Him in glory!  What is anything we suffer now compared to that? I have a video below which won't show up in your email if you get this in email, but you can go to the link in YouTube to view it.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

HE WILL BEAR YOU UP ON EAGLES' WINGS


I wanted to share this encouraging song to anyone today who has found their strength gone, or almost gone, who is in a hard place, or a battle they seem to not be able to fight anymore.  I've had some of those and recently again found myself literally plowed down by the enemy, who attacked like a flood, and I could not stand.  There are times in ourselves we cannot stand.  But we can cry out to God, we can wait on Him, and we can trust His power to raise us up on those eagles' wings.

We don't have wings.  We can't fly.  We sometimes grow weary and lose strength.  We lose heart.  We even lose faith, and falter, because the lies and delusions and twisting of truth of the enemy in our minds and hearts is overwhelming.  There comes a time when we say, "Lord, no use in my striving or fighting.  The enemy is too much for me.  But he is not too much for You!  I rest in Your care for me, in Your love for me, and in Your power.  I will wait on You, until You lift me up again, on Your most powerful wings and bring me to safety once again.

Isaiah 40:29-31
(29)  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
(30)  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
(31)  but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
Who abide in His shadow for life
Say to the Lord
"My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!"

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

The snare of the fowler will never capture you
And famine will bring you no fear
Under His wings your refuge
His faithfulness your shield.

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

You need not fear the terror of the night
Nor the arrow that flies by day
Though thousands fall about you
Near you it shall not come.

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

For to His angels He's given a command
To guard you in all of your ways
Upon their hands they will bear you up
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

THE CONFLICT OF THE SOUL

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)

William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary: "It is worth noticing that grace comes first, then peace. This is always the order. Only after grace has dealt with the sin question can peace be known. And only through the undeserved strength which God gives from day to day can the believer experience peace, perfect peace, in all the changing moods of life."

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:15-20)

Loving the Father's will was the subject of a previous article. As God's child, we have placed in us, the desire to do His will. He has given us a new heart, a new will, and desires to please Him through His Spirit coming into our hearts, if we are born of His Spirit. Yet we find within us a conflict. There is the enemy accusing us, twisting our motives and God's will, our weakness and inability with God's demands, our condemning ourselves, or satan condemning us, putting our eyes on ourselves rather than God, causing us to have irresolvable conflict in our soul, that only God Himself can sort out. There are times I've cried out, "God! I do want Your will, but I can't discern what it is! The conflict inside of me brings confusion, and I can't understand what's coming from my flesh, the enemy twisting in my head Your Word, Your will, Your command, my own desires, my own weaknesses and inability and how to resolve it!" I find myself in hopeless despair ever to live up to His will! As I struggle through, trying desperately to come to peace with this conflict in my soul, trying to honestly discern what is of God, what is of the devil, what is of me, I realize I cannot. His Word comes to me, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." (Proverbs 3:5-7)

I realize it is only God Himself, through His Word, by His Spirit that can discern the thoughts, the intentions of the heart, and divide between soul and spirit. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

I must not wrestle with it, or try to discern it by my knowledge or understanding, or my feelings, or anything else, and especially not by another's opinion. I must do as the Word says. I must go to Him, acknowledging Him. Even if I should seek wiser counsel, I need first to acknowledge and seek Him. And then if I do seek another's counsel that too must be brought before Him. I must not lean on another's understanding anymore than I lean on my own.

Webster's 1828 dictionary: Acknowledge: 1. To own, avow or admit to be true, by a declaration of assent; as to acknowledge the being of a God. 2. To own or notice with particular regard.

I must own, avow, declare God as my God, my Father, to regard Him alone as the One Who knows all, Who understands perfectly His will, the schemes of the enemy and the ways he is able to deceive, twist, and condemn falsely. He alone is the One Who understands all the intricacies in my heart, the motives, the feelings, the desires, and divide between His own work in me, His own Spirit, and what is coming from my own flesh, which is very deceptive, always holding onto what it desires. He alone is able to conquer all those places in my heart, to help my will conform to His will. He alone is able to resolve the conflict. It is He Who works in me to will to do His will and then enables me to carry it out. I cannot do that by my own understanding and efforts. When I try, I fail, I fall, I stumble in the dark, and the enemy then comes in for the kill with condemnation, until I feel buried under it and hopeless to ever find peace.

God is our peace. His grace is sufficient for us in the conflict to enable us. His power is sufficient for us to do all. We can't understand, we can't trust, we can't rest, we can't do until He comes into the situation, into the conflict. We can easily deceive ourselves and others. As we look to Him, then we are able to look away from the conflict itself, to stop the struggle, and to look to Him. Then we are able to say, "It is Yours Lord. I will trust You with all my heart, not lean on my own understanding, and I know You will direct my path, You will discern, You will make Your will clear and understood in me, and bring my will to conform to Yours." We find rest in our souls though perhaps the conflict is not yet resolved to our understanding. It is now cast on Him. We stand in His grace, in His peace, and determine that we will submit ourselves to His Spirit in our hearts as He resolves and brings discernment and light - as we wait on Him. We stand in His salvation against the attacks of the enemy's condemnation. We stand in His righteousness, knowing we have none in ourselves, and His will be ultimately fulfilled in us.

We must submit or present ourselves to the working of His will in us, by placing ourselves before Him in His Word, letting it speak to us, letting it divide soul and spirit, letting it bring light, truth, and counsel to our hearts. Most of all we need to let Him reveal Himself, His heart, His mind, His will to us through that Word. As we do that we grow in love to Him, we grow in our awe of Him. We desire His will above our own. We find we don't have to strive but as His Word becomes our delight, we want it more than anything else. We find almost without realizing it that there has been a work in our hearts to make us conform to that will even in our feelings and desires and the will of our flesh no longer has a hold on us.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. (Psalms 37:4-6)

There is two ways to think on Ps. 37:4. If we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us our heart's desire, or if we delight ourselves in the Lord He will put the right desires in our heart. I have found both to be true in my own experience. As I delight in Him, my desires become what He desires for me and others. Then, those very desires that I am asking of Him, He gives. What a wonderful God we have! Our wonderful Father does not want a slave relationship with us. He wants us to discover Him, His heart, His will. He tells us life eternal is in order that we may know Him! (John 17:3) He wants us to know Him, not just to come to Him as a slave master. He does not force submission. He reveals Himself to us, which makes us unable to do anything other than to adore and worship Him, to delight in Him, and to desire His perfect will, even when it is a sacrifice to us. When we are "in the Spirit" we are being filled with the Spirit and with the will of the Spirit.

Under the law there was more of the slave/master type of relationship. "As to man, the law and the ordinances were only bondage. They aimed at bridling the will without its being changed."--J.N. Darby

Grace and peace is what Paul greeted the church in Ephesus with. Grace gives us the enablement to know Him, love Him, love His will, and to do it. Peace is the outcome. As we stand in all God has done for us, in us, and trust His work, His power, His provision alone, submitting ourselves to Him as we abide in Him, by that grace, we find the Father's will more and more the pure will of our hearts. And only in submission to that will do we find peace from the conflict of the soul. It is our hope and promise that one day the conflict will be over forever. We will have the most perfect peace at that time than we can now comprehend, in His presence, in His likeness, where nothing can ever again be in His presence that is not conformed to that blessed will.

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. (Galatians 5:5)

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

Knowing this, it stands to reason, we should do all we can to as much as we can, embrace, love, and cherish the Father's will, to seek it, know it, and submit to it. This is what ultimately, we will live in perfectly. It is in His will alone we are made complete, whole, and have His peace. Amen, even so Father, work Your will in our hearts! Deliver us from all that hinders it in us and around us. In Jesus name amen.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

THE SURRENDER OF FAITH

SURREN'DER, n. The act of yielding or resigning one's person or the possession of something, into the power of another; as the surrender of a castle to an enemy; the surrender of a right or of claims.
1. A yielding or giving up.

A yielding or giving up—that speaks of two things to me. It can mean defeat, or it can mean victory, depending on whom we yield or give up to. We can give up ourselves to despair and discouragement and the voice of the enemy—in surrendering ourselves in unbelief. Or we can give up, in our struggle with despair and discouragement, weakness, unbelief, whatever it is the enemy is trying to get us to surrender to, and yield in faith, (confidence in God’s power and not our own), and resign our whole entire person, body, mind, spirit, to His power, His Spirit in us, and His perfect work accomplished on our behalf for us. We may not understand it all, but we can resign ourselves, by choice to it’s working out in our lives.

No matter how small that surrender is—how weak that faith is—we can persist in resigning ourselves over to it, yielding to it, giving up to it. This is the surrender of faith.

What surrender is not, is a struggling in our own strength of will and resolve to become what God wants us to be. It is never accomplished in ourselves or of ourselves by the power of our will. So many Christians believe it is up to the strength of their will to keep themselves and surrender all to God. All the while, it is God at work in us, calling us to surrender, and then empowering us for it, and maintaining it by working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure—Philippians 2:13. What He requires, He makes provision for.

Andrew Murray, in His book, Absolute Surrender, says this:

“God Accomplishes Your Surrender
“I am sure there is many a heart that says: ‘Ah, but that absolute surrender implies so much!’ Someone says: ‘Oh, I have passed through so much trial and suffering, and there is so much of the self-life still remaining, and I dare not face the entire giving of it up, because I know it will cause so much trouble and agony.’

“Alas! alas! that God’s children have such thoughts of Him, such cruel thoughts. Oh, I come to you with a message, fearful and anxious one. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: “It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure”? And that is what we should seek for - to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong, to conquer what is evil, and to work what is well-pleasing in His blessed sight. God Himself will work it in you.”

Surrender is a choice we make, to yield to the power of another. Whose power do you want to yield to? The choices are, 1) our own power, 2) the power of the spirits of darkness and deception, or 3) the power of God. Therefore, surrender is an act of faith in one of those powers. When we see that God’s power is true, God’s Word is true, yet we feel the strength of our flesh to hold on to its power, and struggle with the doubts and fears in our own mind, and the oppression of the enemy, we can know, that if we do not have to yield to any of it! We can know that all we need do is cry out to God, our Abba, and that act of faith in itself is a surrender to His power to come to our aid and deliver us. We are not yielding to the power of our own flesh or of the enemy if we cry out to God in our weakness for His power to come to our aid.

Often we think that we are not surrendering until we feel the full strength of that ability in ourselves to overcome every doubt, fear, and temptation. But the smallest act of faith, in crying out to God is an act of surrender, that says to Him, “this child does not want to yield to the powers that overwhelm him, and sees he is not able in himself to overcome them, but is putting trust in me by calling out to me.” He accepts our very weakest surrender. In fact it is in that weakness of utter helplessness in ourselves that true surrender is possible, as it cannot come from anything but faith in His power and not in ourselves at all.

“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”- Luke 18:27

We may feel it impossible to bring ourselves to the kind of surrender God requires of us. But it is God who works in our hearts to desire that surrender, and it is God who always gives the enabling power to do what He requires of us. If we look at our hearts, we see ourselves, holding onto that life it has known, and power over itself and its rights. We look to God, and see that though it is impossible with us, it is possible with Him. We don’t have to wait to feel it. We can yield, give our hearts up to His power and ability over our hearts and wait on Him to do His work in filling us with His mind and heart by His Spirit that He has given us.

Faith is not a feeling. Faith is relying on a fact, receiving something as true—God’s existence is fact, His Word is fact, even though we do not have to understand it all to believe it and know it is truth. We can know it is truth and accept it. We can know God is alive and though we don’t know Him or understand Him completely or as we should, we can have faith in Him. Surrender is not a feeling either, but is an act, based on faith. We do not have to have all the answers to surrender, in faith, to God, that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who come to Him (Hebrews 11:6). And by coming, He will teach us more of Himself. If we are guided only by feelings than we are no better off than an animal that is a slave to every impulse for survival. But we have God’s Spirit indwelling us if we have been born again. God gave us the ability to act against our feelings, not being overcome by them, and act in faith in what we know to be true when our feelings tell us otherwise. That faith is there by His Spirit convincing us His Word is truth. We yield ourselves to that truth, regardless of every thought the enemy screams in our ear to the contrary and regardless of our helpless feelings and emotions. We may feel unbelief, but we do not have to act in unbelief. We can yield, give up, resign ourselves over to God in those times to His safekeeping and to His fulfilling His purpose in our lives. We can cling to His Word and give ourselves up to its truth. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t help how I feel”. No—but you do not have to be controlled by your feelings or given over to them. You are not their slave. You have God as your resource to call on!

God accepts our very weakest surrender. Our crying out to Him in utter weakness is never unheard and never unanswered. May our hearts be comforted in this. He never asks us to come to Him in full strength of our own ability. He only asks us ever to come to Him in the humility of our own inability, utter helplessness, and weakness.

Hearing Your call to come, we come Lord, in our weakness, trusting You to be the power of that surrender, relying on You to be resurrection life in us, raising us up to the life You call us to. In Jesus name.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

STRENGTHENED IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT


(Ephesians 6:10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

There are so many things I tell myself I cannot face, or I cannot do, or that are way too much for me. It's easy in a world hostile to God to become discouraged and despair. It's easy to think of those suffering for Christ in such unspeakable ways, and to tell myself, "I could never endure that!" But God never tells us to muster up enough courage, or faith, or strength in ourselves or in our flesh. He never tells us to call on our own resources. He never tells us to strengthen our flesh. He does tell us to be strong "in the Lord." He tells us to be strong "in the power of His might." We learn that we can only do that by daily "putting on the whole armor of God." We learn that as we are being filled with the Spirit daily, as we take in His living Word, that we are filled with assurance, strength in our inner being, faith, hope, love, and all the fruit of the Spirit which is the power of His might. His presence in us is made manifest and He assures our hearts of His love and provision for us.

There are many things in this world that we should rightly fear. Aside from God's indwelling presence and His promises we have good reason to fear. We have good reason to despair, as we see evil forcing itself on us and overcoming the world, thinking to take it as its own and rule making all earth's inhabitants its slave. How are we to stand up against such things? If we think we can, if we think we have the strength to do so, we only deceive ourselves. If we are rightly made to see the lack in ourselves and our own insufficiency, it causes our hearts to cry out, "Abba, Father!" We look to Him. We turn to His Word, reminding ourselves of His promises, of His blessed hope, of His truth, His righteousness, His peace, His faith, His salvation, the privilege of prayer and coming to His throne of grace and mercy at our time of need and the assurance that because of the blood of Christ we are heard, and we are strengthened with the power...the very true power of all He is, and has promised us, and we are assured, as His Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God. We are assured that if we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him. That inheritance is more real to us than anything we are now experiencing in this world. The knowledge that He could come for us at any moment gives us energy to all the more live to please Him and to bring His light before a dying world. It gives us joy that strengthens our walk, knowing this is not our home, but we are ambassadors for a Heavenly city while here below. We live to please our King!

It is the power of HIS strength. It is the power He gives as we are in fellowship with Him. We cannot be living as we please, ignoring our fellowship with God, and just calling on Him when we have a problem, as though He were our magic lamp, where we go to have things go our way when we need. We must be dressed, daily, in the full armor of God. We must walk in the provision He has given. He Himself, in our spirits, is that full armor, that provision, that strength. It is not received apart from our union with Him, as though it were a separate force we can somehow receive.

Ephesians 6:11-18
(11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
(12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
(14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
(15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
(18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This is daily surrender of faith, and communion with God. This is understanding our position and calling in Christ. This is "no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God Who gave Himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20). This is living by the Spirit of God, not by the flesh. Unless we learn in these perilous times, to live by the Spirit we will not have the armor of God in place in the time of need, when our trial comes. And it will come. God does not spare us from tribulation in this world. He told us just as they persecuted Him, they would persecute His followers, and all who love Him. Since the Lord was resurrected and gave His Spirit to those who believe Him, this has been the time of our tribulation as the church. The time of the world's tribulation is soon to come, when the Lord calls His ambassadors home to be with Him.

The world hates the light of His truth, because it exposes their lies and their sin, which they love and cling to. They choose to hide in the darkness. A child of God cannot walk in darkness with the world to appease the world, but must choose to either stand with Christ, bearing His reproach, and be light in that darkness, or to deny Christ and be a part of the darkness instead. Those who truly love Him and have His Spirit indwelling them, cannot but choose His light and life and suffering. Yet today there are many professing Christians who find it more comfortable to be a part of the darkness, the lies of the enemy that pervert His true Gospel, just enough so that they think they can have both Christ (a jesus of their own making - an idol), and the world as well.

We are faced with a choice when we are faced with evil. Will we hide ourselves in the darkness, or will we stand in the power of His might? God has a way of revealing what is of faith or what is actually of the flesh (living by our own will, appetites, and abilities for ourselves).

I've been meditating on Hebrews 11 lately, and I see throughout the book of Hebrews, that the hearts of those being addressed were being tested to see if they had true faith... the faith that "entered in" and truly believed God. Hebrews 11 talks about the actions of faith, or what faith truly produced in the hearts and lives of those who possessed it. When we are put to the test, true faith is revealed because we can only act on what we truly believe, are convicted of, and the heart truly accepts, which I wrote about in my last devotional. It is by this conviction, the evidence in our hearts of what God speaks to us and we believe, that we are strengthened in the power of His might for whatever He calls us to endure, or obey, or wait on Him for.

So what do I do if I find myself lacking, and I fall short? There is always one way to receive from God. It is to turn to Him in surrender of humility and faith. Humility - acknowledging our inability, sin, and weakness. Surrender - the giving up of ourselves, our own understanding, our own way, our own self-serving. Faith, trusting in His written Word to be true to what He says, and applying ourselves to it. If we ask, we receive. But we must ask with sincere hearts. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). We must not look to our own feelings, weaknesses, or understanding but look to what He says, and choose to surrender our whole self to that in trusting it. This is the surrender of faith. It is not a surrender of ourselves by our own strength or power, which is impossible. Our flesh cannot surrender itself to death, because it seeks only to please itself. But we can surrender to the Lord in our weakness trusting He alone has the power of salvation and deliverance through His cross, through His resurrection, and through the Spirit He gives us.

We must wait on Him. To wait on Him is to spend time before Him, His Word, letting His Spirit bring the living Word to our hearts to examine, to cleanse, to fill, to empower, to build faith in our hearts. We must abide in Him through this daily fellowship.

John 15:3-8
(3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
(4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
(5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
(6) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
(7) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
(8) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Father in Heaven, You see our hearts, our helplessness, and our need. You only command that which You intend to fulfill in us Yourself. I ask that You examine our hearts and fill us with the power of Your might, to do that which You are calling us to, and sending us forth to do. In Jesus name, amen.

Friday, September 30, 2016

ONLY YOUR LOVE



Romans 5:6-8
(6)  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
(7)  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
(8)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There is a love that is true love with no pretenses, no games, no conditions.  We don't know love really, apart from God's love.  Mostly human love is selfish...more a desire to be loved.  But God's love not only comes to us when we are helpless to help ourselves, when we are lost sinners and unable to be reconciled to this great holy God, but He actually came Himself to make the way for us so that we can be free of sin and all that separates us from Him.  He came Himself and paid the penalty for our sin.

Even so, this love continues to conquer every part of our being as we learn to live by faith in Him, and He indwells us.  He is always at work, conquering every part of our hearts until we are completely surrendered to His will.  His will is always at work in us.  It is His love that does this.  His love is a stronger power than any other power in Heaven or hell.  Even while we go through severe testings, sufferings, and trials, we can be assured all has to go through His nail-scarred hands and all is for our ultimate good and freedom.  I wrote this song as I was going through my own struggles in life and finding I needed to trust His hand in my life through all, and His love that would never fail.