“God Knows Best!”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isiah 55:8-9

We all want the victory in life, but we don’t always know how to go about doing it.  There is a right way and a wrong way of getting things done.  If you have ever purchased one of those DIY furniture kits, then you know what I mean.  If the directions are followed incorrectly, often we will end up with a product that doesn’t look the picture describes or a product that doesn’t function as it should.  One misstep in the procedure of putting it together can really derail the end result.

So it is true in life.  We can see in our minds how this or that will work out, but the process it takes to get there is a little more obscured.  We know how we want the end to look, but allusive is the way to get there.  And despite what the world shouts, there is a way that is right, holy, and just.  There is a way that is not hidden or playing hide and seek.  It is God’s way!  And sometime human nature has a hard time letting go of their own way to take on His perfect will for their lives.

There is this beautiful word called “omniscient.”  The word itself means to be all-knowing and the only one to whom that can be referred to is God Almighty.  The Bible tells us multiple times and in multiple ways of the infinite understanding of God (Psalm 147:5); that He knows everything there is to know and to be known (1 John 3:20).

So, why am I telling you all of this today?  Because all of us deal with times, situations, and decisions where we simply don’t know.  We barely know how our story starts, let alone each step necessary to walk through the process to reach the finished end.  But, God does.

We are told to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct our paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We are told to let go of our own perceptions or preconceived ideas and notions and lean in complete trust in God, and what He knows, and let Him guide through all of those processes we are so struggling with.

Whatever we are undertaking or engaged in, do not be overcome or feel overwhelmed with what’s before you.  Lean on God.  There is so much in this life that we carry the full weight of when God is offering to take some of the weight off of you if you will just trust Him to do it.

Trusting Him is not passive, it’s a walk of obedience.  It is following His way all the way through.  Abraham, a great man of faith, didn’t become that way by just saying he had faith.  He was given the privilege of that title because the faith he had in God caused his steps to walk in obedience in His will for his life (Genesis 12-25; Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19 ).  Trusting that God knows best is actively walking out one’s faith in obedience, and depending on God for the final results.  It is not just quoting that His ways are higher than ours; it’s knowing and believing they are and leaving the outcome of everything we are dealing with; all of those times, situations, and decisions in His more than capable hands because God’s knows best.

Our victory begins and ends with knowing above all else, God is in charge of our story and He knows best.  All we have to do is follow Him.

“Today I Believe I am Big Enough!”

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“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Numbers 13:33

Feeling outsized in life?  The fact of the matter is that many of us feel too small for the task ahead.  Goals, dreams, and possibilities are alright to fantasize about, but when it actually comes down to implementing what needs to be done, we often feel inadequate, as if we don’t have enough in us to see it all the way through to the end.  We feel too small to go in and take hold of what we can be.

Too often we get stuck in a rut because of this line of thinking.  The pressure of what it actually takes to step out into something new, to believe there is a chance for you to be better and to have better, is a little overwhelming to most.  Dealing with the unusual and stepping into the unfamiliar takes a strong act of courage.  It involves one having enough strength and faith to look past what they view themselves as now and see something bigger.

For any area of life where we want to see improvement, there will always be barriers.  There will always be “giants,” whether real or imagined, that will say and make you believe that you are too little; that you don’t have enough in you to be big.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).  The world doesn’t want you to make it.  And, he that operates in the world wants your faith to diminish to the point that you feel like you’re a little “grasshopper.”  It is time for you to stop listening to the world and turn a deaf ear to the “giants.”  If God brought you to the edge of the promise, then, He is most certainly able to bring you all the way into it.  The main factor that can hinder you is you!  It is what you believe about yourself!   It is what you believe God can do in and through you!

“Greater is He that is in you!”  Our belief in ourselves and what God can do through us rises when we realize who it is on our side and what He can do.  That’s the beautiful thing about this.  Life may outsize us but it will never outsize God!  God dwarfs to nobody!  He is greater than all.  So much so, that when He was telling Abraham about his promises, “He could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13).

God is the greatest there is.  The buck stops with Him.  He can’t be outdone.  He can’t be belittled.  He is king and will be king forever.  And, He is “in you!”  That means you are big enough!  You are nobody’s grasshopper!  You can do it because of who you have on the inside of you!  Your job is to wholeheartedly believe, understand and know His bigness, so that you can believe, understand and know that today, “I am big enough!”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Uphold me according unto Thy Word…”

 

Father God, in Your Word, is life and hope. In Your Word is everything I need to make it through this day. Uphold me with Your Word. In those holy pages, we can find comfort, peace, and wisdom for the day written. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:11). We cannot live without You, and we cannot live without Your Word. Thank You for blessing us with the guidance of this blessed and holy treasure, in the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

Sunday School Lesson – “Jesus Teaches His Followers” Luke 6:20-31

Text Free Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 6:20-31 (KJV, Public Domain)

What does Christianity look like?  To some, it may seem to be a list of dos and don’ts.  To others, it may seem the religious thing to carry a certain righteous air about them, separateness from the common man, so to speak.  But, as was becoming custom, Jesus’ view of what it really means to be His follower and God’s people differed from what most preconceived ideas believed.  And the awesome thing about Jesus’ view, He didn’t just teach it, He lived it.

True Blessedness

Luke 6:20 “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”

In the verses prior to this lesson, Luke 6:12-19, there it records that Jesus drew away into an all-night prayer meeting with God the Father.  The Son and the Father communed together on an intimate level that no one else was privy to; just they by themselves, one on one.  Oh, to be a fly on that wall.

Following that, Jesus chose His twelve disciples and began to heal the multitudes that have already begun to gather and follow Him.

The first words He spoke to them when coming down in the plain is so similar to the words He spoke in the Sermon on the Mount that many Bible students are unable to decide if these two messages are one and the same, or are they separate occasions.

He said, “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”  When someone says something is “yours” it means they are passing ownership of said item to you.  They are giving you the right and the privilege to operate in what was given.

It’s the “poor,” the impoverished who truly appreciates what is given to them both in the physical and in the spiritual.  One who is “poor” realizes they have nothing in and of themselves.  They are totally dependent.  They agree with the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Cor. 3:5); but these are “blessed;” who are happy and find joy and acceptance in God’s kingdom.  They are appreciative because they know before Christ, they lacked spiritual vitality and were “poor.”  Now, in Him, they enjoy a new experience of blessedness.

Luke 6:21 “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.  Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”

Jesus’ followers, God’s people, live with an expectation of being “filled.”  These verses really hone in on our life with and without Christ.  Without Him, it is truly a life of lack compared to being spiritually satisfied and complete in Him.

One that “hungers” has not yet retained enough to turn over the plate and say, “That’s it, I’m done.”  Spiritually speaking, he that “hungers” has a need for more of Him.  His soul doesn’t rest until it finds that “ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power,” Colossians 2:10.  This is where the malnourished soul is embraced and filled with the satisfaction of the Savior.

“Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”  Many of us have been well acquainted with tears on more than one occasion.  Tears or weeping are most often shed in times of sorrow; during times of hardship and anguish.  Crying gives one an opportunity to release those pinned up emotions that stress the body and soul of man.

Whether this weeping is associated with sorrow of sin or because of adversity of the wicked, those that endure through it now will find a time when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying…” (Revelation 21:4).

“For ye shall laugh.”  Where there is laughter, joy has replaced the sorrow that was once felt.  Where there is laughter, release is felt from the oppression of the wicked.  David once wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers…” (Psalm 37:1).  If they are the source of tears, forget about it.  He goes on to say, “The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming,” (Psalm 37:13).  When God laughs, as His followers, we will share in the same joy as our Savior.

The Bible says, He will “appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” (Isaiah 61:3), and they will be able to “laugh!”

Luke 6:22 “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.”

Acceptance, a lot of people live for it.  Being a people pleaser has drained the efforts of some to no avail.  When we live for Christ, as God’s people and His followers, it brings contentions and misunderstandings in relationships.  It draws a line in the sand between two lifestyles and those lifestyles are always in a battle against one another: those that live for the Spirit and those that live for the flesh.

Others may not understand why you can’t run with the old lifestyle that you used to.  They don’t understand that things one used to run after to satisfy the flesh is not precedent any longer.  This brings a backlash of ill-feelings toward the Christian.  They experience hatred, separateness and reproach; three words that describe being “cast out.”  You don’t live like them anymore.  You are not part of the status quo or the normal clique, and they count your name as “evil, for the Son of man’s sake,” because you are working to line your life up with Him, and not them.

Luke 6:23 “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”

God loves His people and we can receive of His blessings while here on this earth.  That fact is sprinkled through His Word.  But, a Christian’s permanent “reward” will never be found on this side of glory.  Jesus said, “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.”

It may not feel like it at the present moment but the day when they cause you harm, the day when they come against you, is a day for rejoicing because God sees and knows, and God will repay.  “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us…” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).  No, we do not wish ill-will on another, but God’s Word still stands true.  Your “reward” is coming!  “Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth,” (Psalm 58:11).  This life doesn’t hold what we are permanently seeking for!  But, our “reward” is coming!  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” (Psalm 30:5).

“For in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”  It’s so hard amid trials and troubles to see that you are not the only who has ever gone through this or are going through this now.  Jesus reassured His disciple that those that have gone before them had to endure the same controversy of people not understanding their relationship as God’s people.

The book of Hebrews holds a treasury of people who have endured in the faith despite their adverse circumstances, and yet held on and believed God every step of the way.  Hebrews 11 is what some refer to as the Hall of Fame of faith.  Immediately, crossing over into chapter 12 we are told, “Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” (vs.1).  “Prophets” and people who have gone before us can testify that the road wasn’t easy.  They can tell their story of how they tried to do the work of God and people did not respond the way they had hoped.  They can let the cat out of the bag about how they were mistreated, used and abused because their desire was to fulfill the call of God on their lives.  They already experienced in “like manner” what Jesus is preparing His followers for.

Woeful Living

Luke 6:24-26 “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.  Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.  Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

“Woe” and “for” are the markers to pay close attention to in these verses.  Remember how I quoted 2 Thessalonians 1:6 which said, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you?”  Here is the undeniable truth that those who inflicted harm to God’s people will have the same troubles come back on them.  Did not Galatians 6:7 warn, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap?”  However one treats the people of God, the same will come back on their heads.  They will receive their just deserts.

“Woe” is not a word that you want to hear the Lord Jesus Christ speak over your life.  Nothing good ever follows a “woe.”  “Woe” to me means you better watch out now, calamity is sure to follow.  This will not be the last time Jesus uses the warning of the “woe.”  Later, during His earthly ministry He tries to shake the scribes and the Pharisees out of their ways to listen to what the Father is now establishing using the word “woe” (see Matthew 23).  When we travel even farther in the future, there are even stronger “woes” that appear in the book of Revelation.  The point is, if Jesus is saying “woe,” one better watch their step and get it right.

How We All Should Live

Luke 6:27-30 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.”

Now Jesus presents a responsibility shift to those who would live and walk as His followers and as God’s people.  It is not only the evildoer that needs to mind his step, but the Christian must live and love people as God Himself does.

When someone has been hurt and broken the last thing on their mind is the benefit of the one who has inflicted the harm.  Jesus, knowing what He was going to accomplish on the cross was teaching His disciples to operate in this world as if He would.  Years ago, the WWJD movement became very popular.  It was based off the original book written by Charles M. Sheldon titled “In His Steps.”   The base of the book was that every thought and action was to be filtered through the question of What Would Jesus Do?

All these things that He speaks of in the above verses were things that He did; they were things that Jesus demonstrated in His own life.  “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).  Jesus was teaching His followers that to live as God would have them to live, to live as He Himself did, you will not only have to go against the status quo and cliques of society, but you will also have to fight against your own natural inclinations that don’t want to seek the good of those who cause harm.

“Love your enemies.”  The words love and enemies do not coincide with one another according to human standards.  But Jesus is calling us to use God’s Spirit within us to operate on a supernatural level that surpasses our view of the natural world.

When one is an enemy that means that they are against us.  Yet, Jesus’ command is to love them anyhow.  Show them the same compassion as He did when He allowed them to drive the nails through His hands and feet.  He told His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).  He could’ve taken care of His enemies with one swoop of prayer, yet love compelled Him to offer Himself for their release from sin instead.

They cursed Him, yet He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34).  They struck Jesus on the “cheek” (John18:22, see also Matthew 5:39) and they divided His clothes (Luke 23:34).  He went through it all and never sought His own revenge but continued forth in love.

Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

This is the Golden Rule, as we call it today.  God’s people should know how to treat people in any circumstance, whether the times are favorable or in times of adversity.  God’s people must respond the same way Jesus did.  Philippians 2:5 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  The way we view things, people, and situations are to be filtered through thinking on how Jesus Himself would respond.  How did He handle adversities?  What was His attitude like toward those who mocked Him and so forth?  All in all, if we were to take inventory and compare our response to Jesus’, would they match up.  After all, in order to be a Christian, it means we are of Christ, we are His followers, and we are Christ-minded.  If we’re not, can we truly call ourselves Christians?

The greatest commandment that Jesus taught was, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these,” (Mark 12:29-31, emphasis mine).  Loving people, treating people as one would want to be treated is a priority for being a follower of Christ!  It is one of the greatest commandments and it cannot be ignored!

What does Christianity look like to you now?  Are you following Jesus’ teachings for His followers?

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“THERE WILL BE A TIME WHEN JOY CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY!”

 

Jesus gave these words of encouragement to
His disciples before His death. He recognized
that what they would feel in the present
circumstance of His crucifixion would cause
great sorrow. But, when they see Him again,
that joy would be permanent and no one will be
able to strip them of it.

Present circumstances are sometimes sorrowful
but there is coming a day when we will
experience uninterrupted joy because we will
see Jesus face to face. Everything we are
going through now cannot compare to that time
of rejoicing “with joy unspeakable and full of
glory,” (1 Peter 1:8).

 

“Just Give Me Jesus!”

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

Every once in a while we need to take a step back and examine ourselves.  What or who is it that we are really devoted to?  What or who are we chasing after?  What or who are we investing our time and energies toward?  Are we just running this Christian race for a better life on this side of the grave?  Or, are we sincerely and completely devoted to the Christ who redeemed us from its power?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church for them to beware.  Beware of what?  Beware of deception that is afoot.  “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:3); or the sincerity of devotion to Him.

Jesus is our lifeline for the here and now, and for time to come.  If we are not completely tied to and devoted to Him, then what are we doing?  Why are we claiming our attachment to His holy body if our devotion is not fully geared toward Him, being sincerely in love with the Savior?

Our lives are to be simply Jesus.  Yes, we have other things to attend to in life and we cannot shirk those responsibilities.  But, the center of our heart is for the Lord.  In all that we do, we seek to do it in devotion, love, and honor to Him.

“Just give me Jesus,” the soul within cries.  The complications of life and the whisperings of other “means” seek to disrupt and break our sincerest fellowship with our Savior.  But, just give me Jesus.

May our devotion to Him, no matter what we are facing, be of the sincerest form.  May our hearts ever be tied to the Christ who redeemed us.  May our minds carry Jesus in it as we walk the paths of this life.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/TheDigitalArtist

“The God Who Touches Me…”

 

The God who touches me is the God who loves me.
Saved, my sins He has thrown into the deep sea.

He carries my soul in His hand day by day.
He wraps His strength around me; my fortress, my stay.

He covers me in light that shields from the dark.
He is the armor that protects from all fiery darts.

He’s my Shepherd and the Lamb, who leads and sacrifice.
My safety; my salvation came at His high price.

The God who touches me cares beyond what we know.
His love on display is the grandest show.

In it we see eternity play out.
His best became our rest; no reason to doubt.

On His throne He sits in heaven where we bow at the knee.
Never forsaking us, in His presence, till we are there home free.

The God who touches me, I reach out for Him too.
As the woman grabs His hem and is healed through and through.

To feel His virtue; His power; His love – it’s so real.
His Spirit overwhelms; on my heart is His seal.

Taking me to heights in heaven to know,
where for eternity I bask in His unimaginable glow.

Photo Credit: Pixabay/Screamenteagle

 

 

 

 

 

“Let God seal you in His protection and grace!”

 

Text Free Photo: Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

“When God closes the door and shuts you away from things that are no good for you, don’t try to reopen those doors.  Let God seal you in His protection and grace.” ©WordForLifeSays.com

“And they went in… as God commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:16

“There is nothing out of the reach of our Savior!”

THERE IS NOTHING OUT OF THE REACH OF OUR SAVIOR!  “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18

“In Christ, you are forgiven!”

“When God forgives He forgets.  He buries our sins in the sea and puts a sign on the bank saying, “No Fishing Allowed.” – Corrie ten Boom

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

Forgiveness is one of those things that we can give away to others, but also receive for ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to get over hurdles of wrongs and mistakes we have done.  Sometimes letting go of offenses is not the easiest thing to do.  But, in Christ Jesus, the Word of God consistently tells us that we are forgiven.  When we repent before the Lord, He throws our sins away and gives us a clean and clear slate to work with.  Micah 7:19 tells us, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” and David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

The stories in the Bible are plentiful of people, who when walking through this life, have stumbled and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  And in that, there are plenteous stories of ones that have been redeemed, set aright, renewed, and forgiven.  God doesn’t hide from us, nor does He hide His forgiveness from the truly repentant.  It’s there; He’s there, if we will just seek Him for restoration, seek Him for forgiveness.

When He forgives, don’t go back digging it up.  Don’t keep coddling that thing that God has let go of.  Since He let it go, you let it go, and seek to move on with your life from here.  Seek to do better with the days that are up ahead instead of dwelling on what’s behind.  Know that His forgiveness is very much real for the one who turns to Him, repents before Him, and trusts and accept His forgiveness.

Listed below is inspiration and encouragement to help you build up your faith in receiving and accepting God’s forgiveness today.

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” – Isaiah 43:25

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” – Hebrews 8:12

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:10-12

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” Psalm 130:3-4

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:7

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – Romans 4:7-8

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”  – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

You can’t bypass confession and repentance before God.  But when taken care of properly, in Christ, your sins are forgiven!  Receive God’s forgiveness today.