The last thing you need is one more person telling you to “hang in there”. When I saw this on a greeting card I thought of several people that I knew would appreciate it. When you open the card it said “So I’ll just ask God to remind you how Secure His hold is! Psalm 18:16 (NLT) He reached down from heaven and rescued me.
This is encouraging but it gives me the impression that He is far away and the truth is, He is living in me, a friend closer than a brother. His presence is with us always, (in all ways). Learning to turn inward instead of upward, acknowledging His residence. We currently live in His eternity. It started with Father saying” let there be” and became mine when I opened the door of my heart and became part of the heavenly family and resident of His glorious Kingdom. Thank your Lord, for all that you provide to educate us in the truth of who we really are and who you really are to us and for us; Your Word (Jesus, his life and Love) Your Spirit (resident friend and teacher) the Scripture (your training manual and love letter) Your gifted servants Pastors, teachers and trusted friends.
Oh, Abba Father, you are the one who loves us, in spite of our faults and fears. The one who knows us from our inception and every heart beat since. How can you be so wonderful, so precious, so trustworthy, so intimately involved in every thought and action in my life and the lives of all your loved ones and still orchestrate the movements of the universe as well as continue to create and be all that you are. Wow! Loving, Powerful, Majestic God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Master of all that you have created and Lover of my soul, You are so worthy of our worship and honor and praise. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus. You came down from heaven and rescued us. Abiding in the One who created us and living in us, is His very secure hold. (Abiding in John 15:4 Message is “Make your home in me” Sure beats just hanging on, right?
Freedom I’m not sure I really comprehend what real spiritual freedom feels like. It’s like a picture I saw once of a man in a jail cell with the door open and he was still standing in the middle of the cell looking at the open door but not moving. Some of my thoughts and habits have been with me so long I have grown accustom to them like old friends.
Then I hear a message about freedom and I start to make a list of what and how I need to change. It doesn’t take long for me to lose interest and I am back to where I started still hindered by the same way of thinking and acting. My mind and old “thought tapes” are back convincing me that I will never change, “it’s just too hard” or “you never stick with anything long enough for it to do any good”. Then when desperate enough, I do what I should have done to start with, turn to Father and confess my frustration. When we concentrate on the negative we just end up with more negative.
Taking Pastor Chris’s advice, I was reading in Galatians. 5 (Message) “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence; Love others as you love yourself. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out – in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”
I began to realize that I was biting myself and not loving myself like I wanted to be loved. So, I turned my attention to how much Father God loves me and all He has done to provide for my freedom thru Jesus. We go back to the “Law of the Spirit of Life” and not the Law of do’s and don’ts. Concentrating on how much God loves me and wants to fashion me with the Love of his Son Jesus. Later in Galatians 5 (Message)
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
This definitely is a work in progress but realize that Christ has made us free, we need to exercise our faith and efforts to STAY free. (Now this is a prayer project)
In the Red Sea Rules, Robert J. Morgan writes, “If wisdom…is seeing things from God’s point of view, praise is the natural reaction to that viewpoint….praise and worship are the sand and cement that hold the bricks in place along life’s daily pathway. Every segment of our day should be encased in praise.” What a great challenge….As believers, we are exhorted to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). I find that some days are better than others and I struggle to “live it out.”
Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Our thoughts matter. The direction of our thoughts has a huge impact on the direction of our lives. Having a renewed mind is a daily choice for all of us, and offering praise to the Lord is a powerful, sustaining part of that work. Our Father makes it possible through His Word and Spirit.
Who do you say that I am? (Luke 9:20)
Selah . (Take a minute and think about this) Well, He’s God! He’s my savior! Yea, but who is He today for you in your present circumstances? How can we share what we have in Christ if we have trouble expressing the reality of our relationship with Him. I have a friend who battles daily with health problems. How do I share how grateful I am for my health without being condescending?
Father is my provider and I am growing more aware daily as I acknowledge all the ways He provides. Most of all, He is my comfort and personal friend and I have discovered He has a sense of humor. His presence is like a warm sweater on a cold night, a cool drink on a hot day, a strong shoulder to cry on when my dreams are shattered. A counselor when I need direction, an encourager when am unsure of myself , confused and lack understanding. All sounds good but it takes a lot of one on One time to get to know Him and trust that all that the Word says is absolutely true. It’s one thing to discover a facet of our Lord and quite another to keep it fresh and real in our relationship. Who do I say that “I am” is? For me, It depends on the day, the time and the circumstance. He is everything all the time but I am just learning how to recognize Him and how to express my awareness. This is a grand journey, getting to know the One who Loves us most, and learning to appreciate and depend on Him more and more each day. Who is He for you today? I would love to have you share your thoughts with me.
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I was reading an article by Reuben Morgan a few weeks ago, and in it, he expressed the following thought about God being present in our weekly worship services:
“God’s presence is robust. He’s not nervous or timid, and He is always present, never failing, never out of time or out of action….It’s not a matter of asking did God show up to our meeting. The question to wrestle with is this: did we show up to meet with God?”
I’ve experienced both kinds of Sundays over the years of belonging to Him…the days that I “show up” for worship and meeting Him, and the days I struggle…The great news is that God’s grace is big enough for both of those “days”…He will lift us from where we are to where He is, if we’re willing.
SWC, let’s “show up” to meet Him. See you Sunday…
What’s your testimony?
Years ago in our Sunday Evening Church they had a testimony time where people shared how they come to know the Lord. So I thought that my testimony was how I got saved. But, now I have come to know that my testimony is my journey in the Lord, my everyday life. I also believed “witnessing” was asking someone if they were saved but really, we are living witnesses. As God works His wondrous love and wisdom into the fabric of our lives we have the opportunity to share it in a way that will help and encourage those around us.
What would it be like if we greeted one another with “What’s the Lord showing you today”? Wow, that’s intimidating. Maybe, but would we have anything to share? If this happened a few times maybe we would be more attentive to remembering how Father has been blessing an exhorting us and how to put it into words. I know I love sharing the blessings but not so quick to share how He is helping me see and work on the areas for change and growth.
The thing is, none of us are unique, we all are working on “stuff” in our lives. The “stuff” you worked thru last week may be what I need to encourage me this week. It seems we’re all made of the same “stuff”. The scripture says “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139; 14). We’re just in the process of getting it all together. Thank you Lord, for your patience and long suffering . Please, Holy Spirit help us to continue to grow into all you have in your heart for us and be willing to be open and vulnerable to our Brothers and Sisters. (that really will be the Holy Spirit).