Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be on the computer for one month, maybe more.
You will receive a notice the next time I post
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be on the computer for one month, maybe more.
You will receive a notice the next time I post
Ambassadors For Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Verse 20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
An ambassador is a representative. Authentic followers of Jesus represent Him to those around them, which means that our words and our actions portray the character of Christ.
John wrote expressively of what it meant to follow Jesus. John and the other disciples were with Him daily as He ministered to those around Him. 1 John 1:1 is very descriptive of that daily interaction. It says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have handled, concerning the Word of life.”
John’s goal in writing the above verse was so we too could personally experience life with Jesus. Verse 3 says, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His son Jesus Christ.”
It is good to remember that we, who were enemies in our minds, alienated from the life of God, and living habitually in sin, are brought into an intimate relationship with Him through His death on the cross. That is our ongoing testimony-message to others.
1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked.” Let’s look at one account of Jesus’ active ministry. We find the story of the Samaritan women in John 4:1-42.
Jesus purposely orchestrated His meeting with the woman. He strategically set up the divine encounter. John 4:4 says, “But He needed to go through Samaria.” In verse 7 He asked the woman for a drink. In verse 9 she questioned Him as to why He, being a Jew, would ask her anything. Then she reminded Him that the Jews had no dealing with Samaritans.
She had no clue what was about to happen. She was just doing what she always did. Verse 10 says, “Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
What an opening for that salvation encounter! There are countless individuals in our lives who are like this woman. They do not know the Giver of life. Jesus is our example of an Ambassador for the Father.
You and I are called to proclaim His good news. Are you being about your Father’s business? Are you alert and watching for the ones that He is strategically bringing into your life?
Years ago I read an account that changed my perspective in evangelism. It was written by Pastor Henry Huckaby. He had sent his young people’s class to the university to start Bible studies. No one was interested. They advertised, they asked, and still no one had any desire to meet with them.
The pastor gathered them all for prayer and they asked the Lord to lead the people to them. The next day one of the young ladies was walking on campus. Two young gals approached her and said, “We want to study the Bible. Do you know anyone who would help us?”
When they tried to do something in their own strength it failed. When they waited on the Lord and asked Him for clear direction, He brought the ones to them that He had already prepared. Here is one on my favorite verses to pray. Psalm 5:8 says, “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.”
Facing the Unknown Of 2017
I am so grateful that the Lord knows everything. What may be unknown to us is fully known by Him. He is our Masterful Orchestrator and His timing is impeccable. Therefore our future is in His hands. As we ‘rest’ in Him through our thoughts, peace will be our abiding direction.
Colossians 2:3 says, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” There is nothing that you will encounter, nor any situation you face right now, that is impossible for God.
He has given us hope as the anchor of our mind, will, and emotions. Hebrews 6:18 says, “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” Therefore hope will anchor us as we face our unknowns.
Verse 19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” Our soul-anchor secures us in the Rock that cannot be shaken.
Often in the New Year resolutions are set. How many have you set and broken in the past? Fear of failure is an internal destructive root. I drew this picture for the cover of one of my e-books still available on Amazon.
You have mindsets that control your thoughts. If you have a fear of failure, it will affect how you think and what you do. It sabotages good intentions, fulfillment of desires, finishing what you have started, and causes you to be double-minded.
Double-mindedness undermines our faith. James 1:6-8 is in reference to asking God for wisdom. These verses say, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is double-minded and unstable in all his ways.”
There is a huge contrast between being anchored and unstable. Anything we do in our own strength will be unstable. Trusting in the Lord for every situation and circumstance that we may face in 2017 will give us emotional and spiritual stability.
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” I love that word, sustain. It means to maintain, nourish, bear, hold up, protect, support, and defend. It is the Lord way to supply everything we need necessary to live victoriously.
It is His powerful word hidden in our heart that will secure us to the Anchor of our soul. We may not known what our future in 2017 holds, but we do know the One who holds our future. We can fully trust Him to meet every need. 2 Peter 2:3 says, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…”
This picture is a great illustration of something that clings with refusal to let go. This little barnacle is part of the rock it clings to. What a picture for us. As we cling to the Lord we become one with Him.
That is what 2 Peter 1:4 is talking about. It says, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
We partake of His nature through our thoughts. The Lord is all powerful. That means that no one nor any thing has even a fragment of His power. Let’s look at some verses that speak of His steadfastness.
He is our Steadfast Rock. Psalm 62:6-7 says, “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
Psalm 112:6-7 says, “Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
When we think of God’s nature as steadfast, we see Him as immoveable, impenetrable, sure, solid, and our Anchor in the storms of life. The barnacle is not affected by a raging sea. Neither will we be negatively affected when our thoughts are focused on His steadfastness.
John 15:4 Amplified says, “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. (Live in Me, and I will live in you.) Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.”
We abide in Him when our thoughts are occupied with His word. Verse 7 says, “If you live in Me (abide vitally united to Me) and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
Clinging with refusal to let go is the same concept as His word remaining in our heart. When we fall into a new trial, it will be His hidden word that causes us to cling to Him in hope and steadfastly endure.
The Lord is steadfast in His thoughts. He does not waver or vacillate. When we dwell in His nature through our thoughts it will stabilize us. For years Abraham remained clinging to God’s promise for a son. He did not consider his age nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Romans 4:20-21 says, “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
No matter what your circumstances are, the Lord is present to walk with you through them. I want to encourage you to lay hold of a verse, hide it in your heart and cling to it with refusal to let go.
The Infinite Nature Of God Part 3 of 3
Our Fleshly reactions are certainly not God’s higher way. Isaiah 55:8-9 helps us understand the vast span of His thoughts verses our thoughts. It says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Psalm 18:30 helps us gain perspective. It says, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” His way is perfect and ours is not. I know that is an understatement, but there is good news with verse 32. It says, “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.”
I am very grateful that God is patient with us. He uses our trials to make our way perfect. Each trial is designed to conform us to His image. They give us benefits that we lacked, and help strengthen our faith as we pass through the fiery trial.
Here is another amazing aspect of God’s infinite nature. Our relationship with Him is personal. He knows everything about us. He knows our thoughts before we even think them. That may be a little unnerving to some but it is a wonderful truth. That means that whatever we have hidden and forgotten He knows. Therefore He is able to set us free from the things that hold us in bondage.
Isaiah 5:13 says, “Therefore My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge…” Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” We can become captive to satan’s devices without even realizing it. He works through deception. He doesn’t advertise ahead of time. We can ‘fall’ for his temptation and become ensnared.
The enemy of our soul uses the things we have hidden to keep us trapped. James described the progression of a temptation to sin. James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
The temptation is cloaked so that we will be deceived. Verse 16 says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” When we stand in truth through faith, the fiery dart will be quenched. Ephesians 6:16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” It is our faith that is attacked through the temptations.
Here is a great verse that shows our faith stance, Nahum 2:1 says, “He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily.” We stand in faith when we stand in God’s unshakable, infinite truth.
The Infinite Nature Of God Part Two
I want to look at some verses about our knowledge of God. John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Our salvation begins there. To know and accept the Lord as our personal Savior is eternal life.
As our knowledge of the Lord increases our trust in Him enlarges. Colossians 1:10 says, “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Our increase comes as we read God’s word for understanding. We are not just reading for the sake of reading, but reading to apply its truths to our lives. That is what Joshua 1:8 instructs. It says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Meditating in God’s word causes us to bear fruit and prosper spiritually.
We experience the fruit-producing power of God at work in our heart as we dwell in His word. John 15:2 says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
2 Peter 1:5-7 is a list of things we are to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness. Verse 8 says, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peter ended his epistle with the encouragement to grow. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Past hurts that we keep buried in our unconscious block our fruit. When we apply His word to our lives, He prunes out the hidden, so that our capacity to receive and give love increases.
At salvation His love in poured into our heart. Romans 5:5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” We are the ones who block His love from filling our heart through burying our hurts rather than trusting Him to resolve them. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” We entangle ourselves when we bury our hurts. Verse 13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
The Infinite Nature Of God (part one of three)
Here is the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary definition of infinite: without limits, unbounded, boundless. It goes on to say that God has neither beginning nor end of existence. He is Omnipresent which is infinite in presence. We had a beginning, but we will exist in infinite duration.
After I read those definitions I was trying to meditate on God’s infinite nature. It felt like my mind was squeezing in. I didn’t seem to have the capacity to grasp what I had read.
I looked up some verses in Job that I want to share with you. Here is one of my favorite. Job 26:14 says, “Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
Job 37:5 says, “God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot begin to comprehend.” Job 5:9 says, “Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” Job 9:10 says, “He does great things past finding out, yes, wonders without number.”
After reading those verses I had to go back and read one of my favorite. I quote it a lot so I looked it up in the Amplified. It says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!”
I had to ask the question then as to why the Lord would form man. Psalm 8:4 says, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” God is so infinite and we are finite. The difference is too vast to span. Again, when I try to comprehend this it is too much to wrap my mind around. God has no limits, yet we are limited by time and space as well as capacity. He created us in His image so He could have relationship with us.
God is Almighty. There is no one like Him, and nothing has even a fragment of His power. Our finite design has a small capacity to receive His love, as well as just enough understanding to comprehend His plan of salvation in order to receive Him for ourselves.
He bids us enter into His nature through our thoughts. When our thoughts align with an aspect of His nature, we touch just the mere edge of that attribute. As we grow in our understanding of Who the Lord is, our capacity to freely walk in His power increases.
Our trust in the Lord deepens and our heart is freed to let go of the past hurts that have kept us bound emotionally. We learn to rely on Him, instead of leaning on our own understanding or looking to some thing to help us cope. He becomes our all in all.