Absolute Protection!

Absolute Protection!

 

Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name.  John 17:11

 

We’ve all seen movies in which a person is protected by an organization or government embassy immunity. Their attitude is often arrogant and cocky. They go about never fearing sudden calamities or, in some cases, death. What they consider as absolute protection affects their attitude and behavior. In reality, only God can provide absolute protection and he freely gives this to all who believe in Jesus Christ. His protection removes the fear or uncertainty of death. Because with God, there is no death but the assurance of eternal life. We live without fear!

 

  2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

  John 17:11, 15  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

  Jude 1  To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

  Jude 24, 25  To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

  Psalm 27:1  The Lord is my light and salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

  Psalm 56:3-4  When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

  Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

    Isaiah 40:28-29  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

  Acts 26:22 But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest.

 

  God clearly promises protection and assurance to all who trust and believe in Him. There is only one thing that can stand in the way of His promises…our lack of faith. We have only to believe His promises and not faint. When all seems bleak, dark and hopeless, let us rise above what we see and believe in His words of hope, protection and eternal salvation. Anyone can proclaim trust and faith in our Lord when the waters are calm and the bank account is full. But our faith, true faith, glistens like a diamond during our greatest trials and fears.

 

  2 Corinthians 4:16-18  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Casual

Casual

She described her boyfriend as casual. He was shocked and disappointed. In his mind, he had been relaxed and willing to defer emotionally to her feelings which, if he were totally honest, could be described as over-the-top.

Casual. Really? She might as well have said, lethargic or indolent. Why was he so upset by this, he wondered? And then he remembered, it was the Bible quote from the Book of Revelation,  “I know what you have done, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. But since you are lukewarm and not hot or cold, I’m going to spit you out of my mouth.” He shuddered at the recollection. Have I become lukewarm he wondered? via Daily Prompt: Casual

Hope and Assurance

Hope and Assurance

“After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” ~Hebrews 13:5

The athletes were in peak condition, ready to explode across the finish line, or sail over the high jump bar ahead of their competitors. This major meet was only once-a-year and they were physically prepared. But would that be enough?

It was the finals in the high jump. Two athletes remained to decide first place, a Russian and an American. This was it and their adrenaline was flowing. Back and forth they went, each man sailing over the lesser heights with ample clearance. Until…

At the time, the world record high jump was 7 ft 5 34 in. The holder of this record was one of the finalists, Valeriy Brumel of Russia. The bar was raised to 7 feet. The thought of sailing over seven feet turned out to be outside the
American’s belief about himself.

Thus far, both men easily cleared each height. But facing a height he’d never cleared before, the magical seven feet, defeated the American. Time after time he missed. And not just missed, crashed into the bar absurdly. It was amazing to watch after he had sailed over every other height with ease. He defeated himself in his mind. Which is, unfortunately, what some Christians do.

We realize that our salvation is not of good works or sterling character, however we stumble over our less-than-perfect behavior following our faith in Christ. The lie that sets in says we must not really be saved based on our lack of measuring up to a sinless lifestyle. Who says? Not God. God tells us we are His forever and no one can take us out of His hands. God says, repent and move on, knowing that your sins are forgiven…over and over until that final day. Believing we are failures simply fractures our walk with the Lord and saps our strength. We are believing a lie.

John 11:25-26 ~Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”

1 Peter 1:3-5 ~All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

John 10:27-30 ~My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

John 6:35-40 ~Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

1 John 4:4 ~But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Romans 8:38 ~And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

We all agree that the Bible is God’s Word. So then, instead of believing lies about ourselves, read the Bible and find hope, assurance and weapons of our warfare, which are spiritual. God has given us everything we need for daily victory and strength. Read the Bible, stand against Satan’s lies and our own wrong feelings of failure. God sees us as perfect through the blood of Jesus. How can we disagree?

Promises

Promises

“I promise. It will be ok!”

“Don’t worry. I promise I won’t do that anymore!”

“I’ll be there by 5 p.m. to pick you up, Son. I promise!”

“I promise, I’ll never hit you again!”

“I am so sorry I hurt you. I’ll never do that again. I promise. Just don’t leave me!”

“I am so, so sorry I took the money. Believe me, it will never, ever happen again. I promise!”

These are empty promises—words without power or substance, uttered in moments of fear, shame, control. If you’ve heard them spoken to you, you understand the frail hope that they mean it this time. You can remember the times of sadness and sorrow…sometimes of pain.

If you’ve uttered them to someone, usually a friend or loved one, you remember feelings of shame, guilt, fear of exposure or worse, control. And if forgiven, you begin the cycle of dread, knowing you’ve no power to stop or change.

Years pass and we learn to forge ahead, looking for friends or lovers who won’t be promise-breakers, but finding that we are somehow desensitizing ourselves, missing out on true friendships and love as we construct impregnable walls of protection. Walls that kill hope and dilute love.

Life does not have to be lived inside a walled city of dulled emotions and shattered love. There actually is an answer that will release and protect our inmost desires and pent-up feelings; an answer so powerful and true that rewards us with new life, hope and love. This is a never-failing, all encompassing, deeply loving answer supplied by the lover of our soul…our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whispering down through the hallways of time and eternity, His “still, small voice” may be perceived in our hearts as we rearrange the furniture inside our city of refuge. A voice birthed in the perfection of servanthood; a voice of sacrificial love and obedience; a voice refined by scorning, mocking, testing, betrayal, torture, and death. And a voice perfected by the earth-shattering victory over death…Resurrection.

And now, sitting at His Father’s right hand, speaking up for us, He whispers, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

He knows how difficult it will be to leave the security of our walled-in existence so He comes to us, penetrating our defenses, to build us up hope by hope, comfort by comfort, assurance by assurance. His eternal, forgiving love transcends all our frailties, sins, fears and guilt. “Don’t be anxious about anything,” He explains, “but in every situation, present your requests to Me and I will give you, in place of all your uneasiness, the peace of God to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”

He cannot lie. He will not lie. He gave His life for you and me because His love was so strong for us. He was willing to face a painful death to set us free and give us a new life…a life outside the walls.

Problems Bring Answers

Problems Bring Answers

 

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials” Rom. 5:3

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true,” said Michael to his class. “I’ve read those words of Job many times over the years and, for the most part, felt a slight sympathy or a bit of empathy for Job. But now, I can say with certainty, I am in that situation. And guess what? I am devastated! I am at my wits end. No longer do I have the luxury to cast a glance at Job’s literary problems and feel superior. This is my life. It’s personal. My life has fallen apart, just like those buildings we’ve seen on TV, imploding in place, falling in clouds of exploding sparks and smoke, down upon itself in a heap of rubble. That is my life. In ruins.”

No one spoke. Tears ran down Michael’s face as he stood dejected, feeling lost and alone. Defeated. And now, in silence, he felt worse, wondering why he had shared honestly about his failings. Answers seemed to elude the class just as they did Michael.

“What does God have to say about your problems, Michael?” Said Carl. “Have you given all this to the Lord? Surely God has an answer!”

“I don’t understand, Carl. These are my problems, I created the mess. Why should I look to God to bail me out? That seems hypocritical to me…running to God like a little kid, begging for His supernatural help. I didn’t ask Him when I made all the bad decisions.”

“As far as I know, Michael, the Bible has answers to all our problems whether we asked for them or not. We’ve all read and talked about these things in this class many times. Now it’s time to see how God works in our lives when it is really difficult. He wants you and all of us, to make Him a partner in our lives; every day.

“Let’s read about this in Romans 5:1-11…Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

“Carl, I enjoy reading the Bible just like you but I don’t get how I can see direct answers to my problems in these verses. Something written more than two thousand years ago, translated over and over is great, I agree. But where is my answer today, in America?”

“Michael, either you believe the Bible, and I mean all of it, or you don’t. This is not up for grabs.”

Again a silence filled the classroom. Michael got red as Carl stared at him. “This is a moment of truth, Michael. Is the Bible God’s Word to you?” And then, looking to others in the class, Carl said, “And what of us? Do we firmly believe the Bible is God’s Word, His holy Word? If we do then answers and behaviors can be found within as we are guided by the Holy Spirit each time we read these pages.

“Look at verse three, Michael. God says…we can rejoice when we fall into problems and trials because they help us develop endurance. This is God’s word for us right now, today, in America. If I read no further I know that my problems and trials help me develop endurance. And, I should rejoice! Not just put up with them but rejoice. Do I? Do we? Not usually. If I’m not hearing God then I am not listening and probably not following the directions He has laid out in His Word. How many times do I rejoice during trials and problems, hoping to develop endurance and see God’s leading in my life?”

“If we read no further and purposed in our hearts to rejoice at problems and trials our lives would radically change forever. God has given us all we need. We just need to act on what He’s given us.”

God’s Antidote

God’s Antidote

 

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Weekly Bible Study

God’s Antidote

September 10, 2014

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” Ps 119:50

When life brings circumstances beyond our control (and most actually are) we don’t always react in a Godly way. Sometimes fear and uncertainty take over, leading us away from God’s promises. Those feelings, although quite strong, must be brought into submission by our faith in God, whose promises will turn us away from fear and uncertainty.

Here is a partial list of feelings we all have that seem bigger than life. The antidote to these feelings is a strong dose of reading the promises of God daily!

Anxiety Phil 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7 So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.

Prov 12:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up

Weakness 2 Cor 12:9 He said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Comfort Ps 91:2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him.

Death Ps 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Blessings John 10:10 I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Fear 2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and a sound mind.

His Love For You Rom 8:38-39 I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Worries Phil 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Matt 6:34 Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

1 Pet 5:6-7 If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

Hope Romans 5:3-5 We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Anger Prov 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Peace John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Tired Isa 40:30-31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Trials James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Job 2:10 “When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God.

Weariness Matt 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Just as we learn math or English by studying textbooks, we also learn of our God and His promises that never fail by studying His book. More powerful than any textbook, the Bible is bathed in life-changing words of hope, infused with the Holy Spirit.

As life brings challenges and disappointments, His word will always give us guidance and comfort.

Letting Go!

Letting Go!

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However, not My will but Your will must be done. Luke 22:42

Jim was a sophomore in college when a friend invited him to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting. He was touched by the love of Christ and gave his life to follow Him. Jim was thrilled to experience this love and prayed, asking God to release him to find a missionary post to begin his new life. Instead, after many hours of prayer, Jim understood that God was telling him to finish his bachelors degree. Obediently Jim let go of his desire and finished.

Upon graduation, Jim prayed and said, “Ok Lord, I’m ready to find a missionary position to serve you.” The answer came from the Holy Spirit, “Stay in college. Get your masters Degree.” Once again, Jim reluctantly gave up what he thought was his dream to obey God’s direction. He attained his degree.

“Now Lord, I know I am ready to serve you on the battlefield somewhere. Send me where you wish and I will go.”

Much to his surprise, God’s answer was, “Stay in school and get your PhD!” Stunned, saddened but obedient, Jim let go of his constant desire and followed what he knew was God’s will in his life. Two years later Jim now had PhD following his name in a resume and very curious as to what God had in mind for him.

Three years later, while speaking at a small church in Oregon, Jim shared with the men’s group his experience with God. “At each point I was sure the Lord would guide me into a missionary position. I was eager to serve Him anywhere. But in each case, He had plans different from mine. Serving Him took the form of letting go of my desires to follow Him. Ultimately, it became clear to me what almighty God had in mind all along.”

“Because of my PhD I am now the athletic director at OSU and as such have some sway and power in meetings. Inevitably, our faculty meetings will come to a place where we share our frustration with students attitudes and problems. It is then that I can stand and say something like, The only real solution to these and other serious problems is faith in Jesus Christ! My statement is always followed by silence. And then something wonderful happens, faculty who are Christians find themselves compelled to agree, to verbalize their faith.

“Although I drug my heels along the path, I discovered letting go of my desires to obey God at each step proved the best of all possible scenarios. I know I am where he wants me…for now!”

1 Samuel 15:22  Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him.

“What does it mean to let go?” asked Danny to his friend Sam. “I read a devotional today that talked about letting go of things for God. I’m not sure I understand.”

“I actually do have a good example from my life,” Sam said. “Before we were married, Suzy and I were attending a church where the pastor required that parents agreed with the marriage before he would perform the wedding. The problem was with my mother. She is Catholic and didn’t want me marrying a non-Catholic. We spent hours talking with her but she wouldn’t give in.

“We were planning an August wedding and time was drawing close. Additionally, I had been accepted to attend college in California and had to move soon. We were both stressed, frustrated and discouraged. Each side was immovable.

“Finally, in my room as I prayed to the Lord one night, I felt I had to give it all up to God…to let go of my plans and desires. I understood that Suzy and I would still get married but it was important to let go of our plans and allow God to work it out in His way. As soon as I made that decision that night in my room, I felt sudden peace. All the burdens of stress and worry were gone. God took them from me.

“In the morning I found my mother in the kitchen and said I wanted to talk to her. But she said she wanted to speak first. ‘Your father and I talked last night and decided that we want to be a part of your wedding with Suzy. We no longer have any objections, son!”

“That is my example of letting go of your own plans to allow God to work His plans in your life. I could never have made that happen so wonderfully. I am not sure how it works but I do know that once we let go of our plans and freely give them to God, we allow His perfect plan to be worked out. It has something to do with releasing our hold on life, trusting God to have free reign.”

Matthew 26:39  He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.

John 5:30  I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Philippians 3:7  These things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ.

Most of us struggle through life, attempting to “make something of ourselves.” As followers of Christ we must let go of that compulsion to prove ourselves worthy and successful. Instead Christ gives us the freedom to give those burdens to Him “for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” Matthew 11:30