The Stress-Taker (Part 2)

(The following was somehow deleted from my last post.  So, I add it here as a second part.)

I have been asked during these last traumatic years how I handle the stress. Unless there is time for a broad explanation, I simply say what I continue to say every day ~ “The Lord is good.” But that is an overall statement that only reveals the surface of who He is and does in His goodness. The root of His goodness is hidden in His Word, and through its fruit and seed, planted in the mind and heart of His children.

As a child, Sunday School was not a regular attendance for our family, but Vacation Bible School was a big deal for me. I loved memorization; I still do, along with meditation and prayer. I don’t remember any of the fun we may have had with activities, cookies and Kool-Aid, but I remember the memory cards that were treasures to me. While I can’t recall all the verses I learned, one has stayed in my thoughts, rooted in my heart and borne fruit over the years. I do not remember the lessons connected to the Scriptures, but God’s Word proves true by itself. It is alive and powerful and produces His life in those to whom He gives it. If I had no other of the seed of His Word, it would have been enough. He has planted much more, but this one has borne its fruit many times over.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I did not understand these words as a child. If I had, life would have been much easier; I would have made different choices and I may not have suffered all the stress and caused the stress that I did. Believing that our heavenly Father is a sovereign God who planned all things for us and brings us by His own power to do His will, I live today as witness of His grace and goodness; His producing the fruit of His own Word from the seed He plants.

As a child, I was open to His Word, desiring to please Him, but the stress-makers of this world had their part in shaping my life to sin and rebellion against Him. Nevertheless, in His sovereignty and providence He has proven the power of His Word over my nature of sin. He has brought me through many trials and temptations, failures and mistakes, losses and traumas by His victorious truths and promises. When I stumble still, He is always there to raise me up and keep me, reminding me of His grace and power to take whatever is laid upon me and to give it to Him. He enables me to cast my burdens upon Him. His grace is sufficient, His strength in my weakness, so that I can be content even in my infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to draw us to Christ through the power of your Word and Spirit. Write your words on our minds and in our hearts and activate them in those times you have chosen, to prove your love and your great and precious promises. Enable us to abide in you and your Word to abide in us, to know your presence at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Image of Contentment

Let’s remember the main points from this series on Contentment.

  1. Divine Contentment is supernatural, possible only for God’s people.
  2. It is the result of a relationship between God our heavenly Father and His children.
  3. He will teach us and show us what He is doing in us.

In this post we want to meditate on God’s Word and what we learn from Him, concerning His image and how He works His image in us as His children. He is content with His own work in and through us. Therefore, we must learn to be content with what He is doing.

From the beginning He saw that everything He had made was “good.”

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” Genesis 1:26a

He is still working all things for our good and conforming us to the image of His Son.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;”
Romans 8:28-29

We are being transformed to the image of the Lord as we continue to look to Him for all things.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:182-corinthians-3-18-orange-copy

The apostle John and the Psalmist speak of the future when we will see God in all His glory.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
1 John 3:2

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Psalm 17:15

While we wait for His second coming we can be content in our role as a servant, even as He served while He was here.

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.
Matthew 10:25

Dear Father, You have created us in your image, and given us new hearts so as to fill us with your Spirit and to conform us to the image of your Son. It is enough for us to be like our Master, and to one day behold your face in righteousness and be satisfied with your likeness. Make us content in the work you are doing in us now, by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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Meditation is a Moving Experience

What began this year with meditations in Galatians is developing into a treasured experience in God’s Word ~ the written Word and the Living Word ~ more blessed than ever before. This is proving true that the Word of God is active and powerful (Hebrews 4;12).

“Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father,
to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Galatians 1:3-5

Many other references in the Bible describe the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his purpose, his accomplished work; and each one is specific as it applies to the needs of man in every generation of this evil age. This present evil age is in reference to all generations until the time of Christ’s return.

Years ago Galatians was a project for memorization and study, but now, in meditation, special and particular verses are even more applicable to where I am today, in sanctification, as I continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

Through meditations in Galatians there is the reminder that “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20-21)

6958018441f94a21c0baf9365b06c022Like Paul, “Be it far from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

These verses, among others from meditations in Galatians are the gleaning; the fruit, so to speak, of Christ’s work in me and all believers who meditate on His Word. Notice that Paul speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then come with me to meditations in Philippians and the moving power of His Spirit through the written word to experience the Living Word, Christ Jesus.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is quite different in content and intent than his letter to the believers in Galatia. He was writing to correct and protect them. To the Philippians he writes to encourage and support their growing faith and ministry.

He has more space in this letter to witness of God’s working in his own life, although it contains two less chapters than Galatians. In Philippians 3:8 is the moving experience. Paul begins this chapter with telling them to rejoice in the Lord. He carries this call forward into chapter four through the witness of the work of the Holy Spirit in his own life.

He first lists the confidence that he might have in the flesh; in his own accomplishments. In comparing these with knowing Christ he counts these as rubbish, as dung (KJV). (This reminds me of Isaiah’s reference to our own righteousness as filthy rags)

Cause and Effect

 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

Meditation on this expression “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” has taken root and is bearing fruit. Instead of just going through the motions where I am His Spirit is moving me where He wants me to be. He is leading me from just growing in the knowledge of THE Lord Jesus Christ and sharing the cross of OUR Lord Jesus Christ to knowing Christ Jesus MY Lord.

There is a tremendous difference ~ a life-changing difference ~ from just having a mental knowledge of Christ and actually knowing Christ Jesus My Lord. It is this heart to heart knowing that moves us to live for Him and witness of Him where He wants us. Everything but Christ can be left behind in this present evil age as He brings us through victoriously and gloriously to Himself to share His glory and joy.

Gracious Father in heaven, who has so loved us and sent us your Son to save us from the world unto yourself, grant us your Holy Spirit to do the supernatural work in us to move us in the direction in which you lead; that we may be rejoicing in you and Christ Jesus our Lord ~ whom you have given to be My Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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