Surviving and Thriving in Enemy Territory (Part 2)

In this last part of Surviving and Thriving in Enemy Territory, we will look more closely at the lives of the children of God in comparison to the children of the world. Meditation and memorization of His promises are part of our strategy against Satan and his forces ~ our means of surviving and thriving in this world.

The following verses and passages of Scripture must be studied as part of the soldier’s manual if we are to survive in this world. This is a loaded post, more than I usually do with references, but needful as one to be saved for further study.

We must be armed to the teeth and transformed by the renewing of our minds with His Word ~ able to speak to the circumstances that come in our lives, else we will be taken captive and overcome. These references should give us encouragement and defense against our enemy at every turn and be able to lead others to safety in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Word, God makes a difference in the righteous and the ungodly. There is safety, strength, gladness and rejoicing and fruitfulness in His kingdom. Added links are in parentheses.

“Discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Malachi 3:18

We see the destruction in Noah’s day as a condemnation of the world.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7

In Psalm 98:2 “The Lord made known his righteousness in the sight of the heathen.”
In Psalm 7:9 the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but the just are established:”

“the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.” Psalm 37:17; (Psalm 75:10)

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
1 Peter 3:12

“The wicked are overthrown, the righteous shall stand. Proverbs 12:7 (Psalm 129:4;Isaiah 11:4)

Isaiah 26:10 teaches us that even if favor is shown to the wicked, he will not learn righteousness. He will still deal unjustly and not behold the majesty of the Lord.

 “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Proverbs 21:26 “He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom.” Psalm 37:30; (Psalm 7:11;Psalm 11:5; Proverbs 15:6; Proverbs 28:1) 

There is Safety in the Lord

“My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.” Psalm 71:24 (Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 55:22)

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

 “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

He is our strength  

“But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.” Psalm 37:39

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 (Isaiah 45:24)

The upright shall dwell in His presence Psalm 140:13 with gladness and rejoicing

“The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.” Psalm 118:15

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Proverbs 29:2 (Psalm 32:11;Psalm 64:10;Psalm 33:1)

 The Righteous bear Fruit

“The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.” Proverbs 12:12 Isaiah 61:3

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 (Isaiah 3:10)

“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)” 2 Corinthians 9:10

 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

Light and Darkness

In the process of the Israelite’s deliverance, Moses speaks of the Egyptians having no light, “but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:23).

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:”  Psalm 112:4

“Light and gladness for the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:11

“The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out. he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” Proverbs 13:9

“Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  Matthew 13:43   

 Jesus spoke of “His light to those who would believe in the light and be the children of light.“ John 12:36

The apostle Paul defines God’s people as children of light

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” Philippians 2:15

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day;: we are not of the night nor of darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:5

Paul spoke of believers being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what communion hath light with darkness?”  2 Corinthians 6:14

Truth and Deceit

“They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”Isaiah 58:2

“The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness;” Jeremiah 4:2

“His word is true from the beginning: and endureth for ever.”Psalm 119:160

  “He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”Psalm 96:13

 We see in the following verses how truth and righteousness are a combination for those who belong to Him,“and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” Zechariah 8:8

“He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous:” Proverbs 2:7
“The uprightly speak the truth.”Psalm 15:2

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” Proverbs 15:2

 “He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.” Proverbs 12:17

 He speaks encouragement to His people who are reproached of men.

“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.: Isaiah 51:7

 “Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalm 31:18

“(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)” Ephesians 5:9

 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14

“Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:15
(Psalm 40:10; Psalm 85:11; Psalm 119:142; Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 10:32; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 13:5; Isaiah 26:2; Isaiah 26:9; Isaiah 28:17)

Life and Death

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Proverbs 21:21

“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” Proverbs 10:11

“The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” Psalm 119:144

“The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.” Psalm 37:32 and gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous.”Psalm 94:21

“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.” Proverbs 10:16

 “The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.” Proverbs 10:21

 “in the day of wrath righteousness delivereth from death.’Proverbs 11:4

Proverbs 10:2  “in the way of righteousness is life: and no death.” (Proverbs 12:28)

“As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Proverbs 11:19

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rp,ams 5:21

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13

(Psalm 37:29; Psalm 119:144; Proverbs 10:3; Proverbs 10:25; Proverbs 16:8; Proverbs 10:28saiah 51:6)

Peace and Oppression

 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14:17

 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

“And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;” Judges 6:9

“For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Psalm 54:3

In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.Isaiah 54:14

“The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment  Psalm 103:6 and a refuge for the oppressed,” Psalm 9:9

There is a connection between Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus being oppressed and afflicted for us and the fulfillment of His power in healing all that were oppressed of the devil.

 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38
(Deuteronomy 26:7; Isaiah 49:26)

Spirit and Flesh

We close this chapter with the most profound teaching of God’s Word for His people. The Christian life is more than just physical. It is a supernatural life given by the power of His Holy Spirit. The righteousness of Christ is ours by His Spirit drawing us to Him and His living in us.

The Spirit of Christ within us is our only true defense and our means of thriving. His Spirit teaches us His Word and arms us with divine power to destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations and whatever exalts itself against the knowledge of Him and brings our thoughts captive to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:5-6

Paul teaches more about the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer than any other New Testament writer. Read and study Romans 8:1-16. If you are not already familiar with this passage, spend time with this one and Galatians 5. Below are verses from these chapters.

 “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4

 “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10

 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Galatians 5:5

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

Paul gives a list of the desires of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:22-24 

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“For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11

“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:23

Gracious Father in heaven, I am speechless. Your Word is precious and powerful. By it, you created all things and by the Word of your power, you maintain. You birth your own children by it, fill us with the life that is in it and you speak it through us for our defense and joy. We are not worthy but we praise you for your written word and more than this, for your Living Word ~ our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name, we thank you and desire your continued Spirit leading us onward. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

Reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day

How often does history repeat itself? It sometimes takes centuries and new generations to forget the past. We observe the world and the culture and think that we are experiencing something new, when actually we are only replaying the scenarios our forefathers knew.

The Christian community is looking at the world through the same lens and blaming our culture for the current ills. We want to point a finger at everyone outside our personal environment.

If we look to the Word of God, we find much to explain why we are in such straits as we are.

In a country that began as “a nation under God,” at first living as those who belonged to God, we wonder how things took a different turn.  As His people, we find that we are not much different from our ancestors that liked what other nations had. In their covetousness, they wanted a king to rule over them.

He gave them what they wanted and so they served and yielded the fruit of their own doing. Without Him, they became like other nations and suffered the consequences of living without His direction, presence, and power.

Even when they worshipped Him, they made their own laws, going their own way in idolatry.

Years after Israel’s exile and deliverance from Egypt, they rebelled against His precepts. We see in Daniel 9:1-19 the ramifications of their disobedience.

In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” Daniel 9:2-5

Prophecy of Jeremiah

“Between the second and the third wave (of their captivity), Jeremiah prophesied that the total time would be 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). On the one hand this emphasized how serious the sin of Israel was. They would not be saved after a few years, as they expected. On the other hand, it showed God’s grace. For He promised to not forget them, but to save them in the end. And He did. The Persians took over the Babylonian Empire, and released the Jews. As Jeremiah had prophesied, 70 years after the first captivity, the first returnees arrived in Israel. The hard punishment that the Lord gave them for forsaking him, resulted in their repentance.” Biblword

Scripture demonstrates that the Babylonian exile lasted for 70 years and that exile allowed the land to rest for the 70 Sabbath years that the Israelites had failed to observe. (See this link.)

God’s Word for His People

God did not expect the whole world to live by the commandments of His kingdom. He issued His Word to a chosen people for their obedience and dependence upon Him to lead and care for them.

We cannot expect the world to abide by God’s Word but we, as His people, are called to a life separate from the world. When we continue to live as if we are not His people observing the same lifestyle as the world, we are the ones who are in jeopardy. We are the people under His judgment.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

What can we do to change the climate of our nation and the world? We cannot change the world. It will continue in rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ until He comes again in victory over all nations.

As His people, we must pray for ourselves to know His rule in our own hearts and lives.

We must fast and pray for His Church in the world; for knowledge of Him, repentance and faith among His people. We must rise up in obedience to Him and His Word ~ to reclaim His kingdom on earth in us.

We can by His power, start by reclaiming and observing the day He gave us for separation from the world, as a prelude and practice for the eternal rest, honoring Him above all else.

We must begin somewhere to make the presence of His kingdom known.

Pray and Prove

We are already in captivity to our own thoughts and desires ~ in exile to the world’s depravity and culture. We must pray and prove that we belong to Him. We must witness of a different state and a different lifestyle as we continue through this wilderness. We must seek His kingdom and His righteousness through the knowledge of His Word and His commandments. We must live by the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit.

Sunday as we know it, is the Lord’s Day, given by the Father to His Son upon completion of His mission to save His people from this world of sin. The Lord’s Day is His Day to gather His people to Himself, to celebrate His victory over sin for us.

For all that He sacrificed for us ~ for His propitiation for our sins ~ we need to show our love and sacrifice for Him. Even if you are the only one who sees the need, be a witness to others of His will for the Lord’s Day. Plan during the week to make the Lord’s Day His day that He shares with you.

How do you spend Sundays?

How would you change how you spend the Lord’s Day so as to honor and glorify Him?

It will change your whole life and make you a testimony of His grace.

Dear Father in heaven, my heart is heavy, burdened for your name’s sake, when I see your people use the Day you planned for your Son’s honor for themselves. Send your Holy Spirit for conviction; by your goodness, bring us to repentance, renewed faith,  devotion, and commitment to our Lord who gave Himself to save us from this present evil age. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

What was the Babylonian captivity/exile?

Words of Life ~ ASSURANCE


This word in our list of Words of Life A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian follows on the heels of our last post ~ God’s Utmost for My Highest. We don’t plan the order of these but rejoice at how He brings some of our posts so close together. By the revelation of the Holy Spirit, through the life and work of His Son, Jesus Christ, we have the assurance of His plans for our salvation and His keeping us here, now, and eternally.

Old Testament H983
Strong’s Concordance defines ASSURANCE, betach beh’takh; security, safety
The same is used for the words secure, safety, safely, safe, hope and confidence.

Deuteronomy 23 is a record of God’s blessings and curses to Israel. The blessings are for those who hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. The curses are for those who do not obey Him. They have no assurance of life.

“And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:” Deuteronomy 28:66

God’s work of righteousness by His Spirit within us is peace with definite and infinite effects in our lives ~ quietness and assurance forever.

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17

New Testament G4102
Strong’s Concordance defines ASSURANCE, pistis pē’-stēs
The same is used for the words, faith, belief, and hope.

It is reasonable to say that we have more references of assurance in the New Testament because of the fulfilled work of Christ for us. Again, in the following verse, we see the connection between righteousness and assurance.

“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” Colossians 2:2

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
1 Thessalonians 1:5

The writer of Hebrews speaks of the assurance of hope and faith.

And we desire that every one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.” Hebrews 6:11

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Heavenly Father,  we acknowledge there is only one assurance of hope and faith ~ that which you work in our hearts. Bless us with your Holy Spirit as you reveal the gospel in power among us. Knit us together in love, in full assurance of understanding, that we may acknowledge the mystery of your great salvation for and in us by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Followers of Christ Have CGCD

We live in an abbreviated society with many associations. We are described and labeled by our distinctions and dialect, our degrees, doctrines, diseases and disorders.

The description of the life of a follower of Christ is a wonderful thing, definitely not a disease or disorder, but a distinction. Let me explain according to the initials CGCD, the abbreviation for Conviction, Guidance, Commitment and Discipline.

Conviction
One becomes a follower of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them to return to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of truth. He would supernaturally birth them into His kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

A follower of Christ is convicted. As the Spirit woos and wins us, we receive the guidance of the Spirit of Christ for new and eternal life.

Guidance
Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (john 14:6), promised that the Spirit of truth would guide them into all the truth. This is how He becomes our Shepherd.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:12-13

Commitment
The Spirit of truth is the “Spirit of the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
He leads us by His hand of mercy to follow Christ, to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to serve Him (Romans 12:1-2).
He leads us to full commitment and obedience to Him, to the truth, and to actively seek His kingdom and righteousness.

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” Romans 6:17

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Discipline
With commitment comes discipline as He establishes us as His own. We learn to discipline ourselves as we live under the discipline of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
Proverbs 12:1

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Hebrews 12:6-9
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus encourages him to be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).

He says of his own life, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
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 3:1-3

As followers of Christ we are His special people who gladly accept the description and label as He, by His Grace and His Word, makes us peculiar to the world. No others but those of His family have the life of Christ in them. What a joy it is for people to ask what makes us different, so that we can share Christ with them.

Gracious Father, you have made us precious in your sight. Let us wear the label for your glory. Make your Spirit within us contagious with joy and an excitement that overflows, to your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran, DDC (Devoted Disciple of Christ)

images: Google

The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Reminders For the New School Year (Part 3) ~ Seeking

Matthew_6-33What is the difference between the things of the world and the things of God? What separates the kingdom of the world from the Kingdom of God? The things of the world are visible, easily seen, tempting and influencing and aiding our lust for these things.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16

Remember my granddaughter’s reply to my question of why children go to school?~ “To get a job, make money, and buy what we want.”
Education, knowledge, work, and money are the stepping-stones to satisfying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In these the adversary of our souls does his work and rejoices with us whenever we can afford (or buy with a credit card) a new product that we have seen advertised. If purchases are just to fulfill our desires he can claim us for himself and the kingdom of this world.

Spiritual Need
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus speaks of the reality of God’s law for humanity; the essence of true life as God created it to be. He interpreted God’s commandments as He meant them to be understood and practiced in this life.

Jesus was revealing to the common people of His day a picture of successful living. He was here to transfer the written law from stone and paper to the human heart and life.

“Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32

It is here that He emphasizes what God’s children should be seeking first; showing that their desires should be for something higher than this world offers, because our Father has already planned these things for us. He points out a specific difference in the life of the masses compared to life in the kingdom of God. The world’s concerns are only for the things of this world, and not for the things that God wants for us.

Jesus told His disciples that it was the Father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom; not just part, but the whole.  All this He promises for our eternity with Him, and prepares us for it here.

What It Means to Seek
The word “seek” in the New Testament means to look for something that is hidden. To seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness is to desire and continue to seek until we find what is hidden. In Part 2 ~ Asking ~ we saw that we are to ask for the Holy Spirit and for wisdom. With the Spirit of wisdom we have the guidance to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

When God created us in His own image He created us not just as physical beings, but also as spiritual beings, with needs for both. When we seek only what we need physically we are still poor and needy. We need bread and water and clothing and shelter, but the physical things are temporal. If no other life were promised to us these would be all we needed and would be enough, though they would have to be continually replaced.

In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread. Although He could have done so, Jesus answers him from Isaiah, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The words that proceed from the mouth of God are given to us by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, which inspired the words of God to be written brings us to His Word, The Holy Bible, and guides us to find there the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The things of God and His kingdom are promised for us here and also for another life which is spiritual and everlasting, though now unseen to the human eye. They are eternal, never wearing out, never needing to be replaced.

Even as all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ, so is the righteousness of God. We cannot earn a degree in righteousness; we cannot work or purchase it. We must, in faith, receive it as the Father’s gift to us and live in humility, praise and recognition of what Christ has earned for us.

 Righteousness is the law of His kingdom, and found only in Jesus Christ His Son whom He sent to bring His kingdom to earth, and through it to gather His people to Himself, for now and eternity. Christ is the King, who will reign until He has put all the enemies of this world under His feet, including all our desires of the flesh and for this world. He came to separate His people from the world, to prove those who belong to Him. He came, lived to fulfill all righteousness ~ the law of the kingdom ~ and to give His righteousness to us, who by His Spirit seek and find what He desires for us.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1

A formal education takes us through fourteen years of learning how to seek and acquire the kingdoms of this world. College and extended training adds more ability to fulfill the American Dream. How many years do we seek God’s word to find His kingdom and His righteousness, and to praise Him for providing us with all that we need for this life and for eternity with Him?

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4


Knocking

 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

 Sometimes we may begin a search for something, and because it is not easy for us to find, we give up and settle for less than our heavenly Father has prepared for us.

When Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock it is with this in mind. He knows our tendencies to look for the easy way of this life, and thereby miss the greater life of the spiritual things. We ask in prayer, we seek through His Word, both of these in the power of His Holy Spirit. When by His Spirit He begins to teach us and to reveal His kingdom to us He works a greater desire in us to earnestly seek Him and all that He promises in His Word. We knock when with the whole heart we desire His presence, His power and wisdom above everything else, and at whatever the cost.

Knocking: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh longs for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalm 63:1

Answer:  And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

He reveals a kingdom and a life that is greater than any we have known here. Our thoughts and desires are changed. We begin to hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and knock at the door of His heart until He opens the doors of heaven to us.
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Gracious Father, I have but one heart, one desire, one life here and forevermore. You have made it a heart for yourself. Fill it with your Spirit, Holy and Righteous. Transform me by the renewing of my mind through your word, and conform me to the image of Christ, your Son. Write on my heart, every thought, every word, and by your will work in me every deed that proves I am yours, a child after your own heart.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Why and What of Where We Are

In light of all that has happened in the first half of this year it behooves each of us to stop and examine our own hearts and lives. What begins as a small secret sin, when brought out of the closet, can sometimes mushroom into acceptance by the highest court of the nation. If they had known the meaning of sin Adam and Eve would have thought theirs to be a little one, and yet their actions plummeted the whole world into a state of enmity with God. Jesus’ simple message to us all, is the same today as in His day, “Unless you repent, you, too shall perish.”

Perception and Perspective
Seeing where we are, corporately, and individually, may determine where this nation will be in the future. Perception, being the understanding of the way things are, not from our own viewpoint, but from an outside source, gives us a true perspective of the whole picture. Discernment comes, not from our own viewpoint, but from a greater source than our own. Input from God’s Word gives us the right perspective of where we are, why, and what we are to do. From the beginning God has made it known that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from His mouth. (Matthew 4:4) There is no true life without it. God’s written word was Jesus’ means of resisting the tempting of Satan in the wilderness. He did not sin because He always relied on the word of His Father. He lived in complete obedience so that He could deliver us from this wilderness. He said that heaven and earth may pass away, but that His Word would never pass away.  His Word is the law that judges our thoughts, words, and actions; but also the power that brings us to the law of liberty and new life in Him.  It is His means to guide us and to check us as we continue to live in this world.

Where We Are
The apostle John wrote in one of his letters these words, “the whole world lieth in wickedness ~ in the power of the evil one.” (KJV and ESV)

The apostle Paul wrote, “ the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

This is where we are; in the middle of darkness and decay.  God has already pronounced His judgment against this world.

Why does the world continue to reject His Word and His Son? Because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) We, too, who claim Christ as Lord, and yet live in disobedience to His word, are blinded. God’s people, the nation of Israel, faced His judgment for their own sins. They profaned His name, His Word, and His Sabbaths; and were taken captive to another land because of their disobedience. We, as God’s children cannot point our fingers at others and blame them for where we are as a nation. It is in times like these that He brings us all to account, to prove who and what we are. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

It is in times like these that we learn the difference in God’s kingdom and the kingdom of the world.
It is in times like these that God’s Word becomes precious.
It is in times like these that God in His goodness brings His people to repentance.
It is in times like these that God’s people forget their differences and band together for the truth that is ours in Christ.
It is in times like these that we pray for God’s presence and power to be seen in the world.

Who We Are
Discerning the changes in this world and responding Biblically depends on what God is doing in our own lives. Our hopes for a better world lie in how we, by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5) We need not fear what the courts of men and the world pass as law, but true perception enables us to fear, with wisdom and love, the final court of judgment that will come in God’s timing according to His Word.  I am glad that He is the one appointed as my judge; for He is my only Savior, the one who has redeemed me from my sin, and the King who sits at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning until He has put all enemies under His feet. His Holy Spirit, the greatest power in heaven and earth continues to rule in the hearts and lives of His people.  This we shall see this as the antithesis proceeds to its end.

What are we to do?
With perception from God’s Word we view the world with a right perspective ~ from God’s point of view.  We persevere, knowing that He is preserving and protecting His own in the middle of this wilderness. The following verses have served to help me remember that I am but a sinner saved only by His grace, and in need of constant awareness of where I am in this pilgrimage to a new world of righteousness.  Continually seeking “His kingdom and His righteousness” with faith and assurance through Jesus Christ we stand and live in the truth of His grace.  We prepare as soldiers of the cross for the trials and tribulations that He, as “the author and finisher of our faith,” leads us through; with prayer and supplication for all saints.

 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober , and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13

 “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:21-22


“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:12-14

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:12-16

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  According to your promises, keep us, your children, from the evil one; bearing the fruit of your Spirit. Give us fervency in prayer, and a diligence in the study of your Word. In the middle of the chaos let us live joyfully the abundant life in Christ that He gives so that others may see a distinct difference in your light and the darkness of this world, and be drawn to Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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