The Rewards of Humility

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Not Be Silent.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 22 (selected NASB).

The Prudent

3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.

For those of us who are in Christ Jesus by faith, we have the Lord Jesus as our strong tower to whom we can run when we are faced with the temptations of the flesh and of the devil. He is our refuge and our strength from whom we draw strength and courage so that we can resist the devil, flee temptation, and draw near to God. He also gives us the discernment and wisdom to sense danger and evil ahead and to seek the refuge of the Lord. Yet, we have to draw on that strength, and we have to listen to that still small voice speaking sense into our minds and hearts so that we do run to the Lord, and so we don’t give in to sin.

If we don’t listen to the voice of the Spirit, and we keep going ahead, then we face the consequences of our sin, whether they are natural consequences or divine discipline. Yet, if we do walk in the fear of the Lord, and we do listen to his voice, we are rewarded with his spiritual blessings – his provisions, his wisdom, his peace, and his joy. I know this is true from personal experience. I know what it is like to resist the Holy Spirit and to not heed wisdom, and to face much heartache as a result. I also know what it is like to walk in the fear of the Lord, to listen to his voice, and to take refuge in him when tempted. And because of that, I know the peace that surpasses all human understanding. It is awesome!

The Pure of Heart

9 He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor…
11 He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

Our hearts are the center of our emotion, temperament, mind, and spirit. In our hearts we feel and express compassion, kindness, sympathy, loyalty, devotion, faithfulness, concern, and comfort, etc. – We feel joy or sorrow. We are courageous or fearful. We have fortitude or we give up. We get hurt or we feel comforted. – Our hearts are the core of who we are – our personalities, gifts, talents, passions, desires, etc. God said we are to love him with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind. In other words, He wants us to love him with our whole being of which our hearts are the center.

Purity means to be wholesome, innocent, decent, honorable, and unblemished by the things of this sinful world. We were made pure by the blood of Jesus Christ, and yet we must also walk in purity by God’s grace, and in his power and strength. To walk in purity, we must desire it (love it), and we must obey our Lord and do what he says. We must also not play with sin or allow impure things to enter into our minds. So, if we are pure of heart, it means that the core of our being, our minds, emotions, passions and desires are centered in Jesus Christ and in his word and that our desire is for God and for his truth and to walk in his ways. This shows that we truly love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength.

To be pure of heart also means that we have the heart of God. What this means is that we love what he loves and we hate what he hates. We desire what he desires and we flee from what he says is evil. It also means that we love like he loves, and we feel the compassion that he feels. Obviously not one of us will do this perfectly because we still live in flesh bodies and we will still battle with that flesh from time to time. Flesh is selfish, so we have to guard against selfishness, and we have to be sensitive to hear God/Jesus, and to be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings when he says that we need to give to someone, or to help others, or to minister to needs, or to say a word of comfort or encouragement to someone who is hurting or to those who are trapped by sin’s deceitfulness. We are so blessed when we allow God’s heart to be our heart, and when we follow the promptings of the Spirit, and we obey his voice, and he uses us to touch other lives with his love.

The Foolish

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

A sluggard is someone who is lazy and unproductive. In this case, the lazy person makes excuses for why he can’t do what he knows he should be doing. He or she portends danger that may or may not exist in reality, or that may be very far reaching and not a real threat at all. By making excuses, he or she is able to continue putting off what they know they must do but do not want to do. This laziness could be related to making a living for oneself, or to keeping up with daily responsibilities of house and family, or it could be spiritual in nature. Many Christians know that they should be in the Word daily, learning at Jesus’ feet, and doing what he says, and yet they don’t do it. They know they should not be involved in certain behaviors and that they should be following the Lord Jesus in surrender of their lives to him, and yet they keep putting it off. They prefer personal comfort to commitment and their own pleasure over pleasing the Lord.

An adulteress is not merely one who seduces others into sex outside of marriage or who is involved in an extramarital relationship. Adultery can be emotional (romantic) or it can be spiritual. The Bible talks much about spiritual adultery. One who is adulterous is unfaithful to the one with whom they have a contractual or covenant relationship. When we commit adultery, either against our mate or against our Lord, we are breaking our vows of commitment and we are giving to another “lover” what should be exclusive in our relationship with our spouse or with God. For instance, when we give our hearts, passion, desires, emotion, loyalty and commitment to someone else other than to our spouse or to God, we commit adultery. It is one of Satan’s traps he uses to get God’s people to forsake their Lord and their marriage relationships and to run after “other lovers.”

Yet, our Lord desires that we be faithful, steadfast, loyal and committed to him and to our spouses, and that we stray not from either one. He desires that we be prudent and pure in heart, and that we remain faithful to him in all that we do. And, when we do stray, he wants us to call upon him in humility, and to entrust ourselves to him in surrender to his will and purposes for our lives. If we call for help, he will heal us. If we call to him for salvation, he will deliver us from the grave, and he will give us new lives in Jesus Christ for eternity. If we think we can handle things ourselves, soon we should realize that we can’t and we need the Lord. And, when we call upon him in faith, he will forgive our sins, he will set us free of our slavery, and he will free us to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Amen!

Not Be Silent / An Original Work / December 3, 2012

Based off Psalm 30

O Lord my God, I’ll exalt You.
I called for help, and You healed me.
O Lord my God, You brought me from
the grave. You spared me from hell.
Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
Praise His holy name today.
Weeping may remain for a night;
Joy at break of day. Our debt He did pay!

O Lord my God, I said, “I will
Ne’er be shaken.” Secure, I felt.
O Lord my God, You forgave me.
Confident I stand in You.
When I could not see Your face
I was dismayed. I called to You.
O Lord, You are my help. You were
merciful to me; By Your grace set free!

O Lord my God, I’m so thankful for
Salvation through my Jesus.
You turned wailing into dancing;
Clothed me with Your joy today,
That my heart may sing To You
and not be silent. Praise Your name.
O Lord my God, I will give You
thanks forevermore. My Lord, I adore!

http://originalworks.info/not-be-silent-2/

In The Lord’s Hand

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 3:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 21 (selected ESV).

The Heart

1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
3 To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Yesterday I lost my youngest sister to death. I had never lost a sibling before. It hurts. I am sad at heart, yet I believe she is with Jesus, so that gives me hope. I spent a good portion of yesterday crying and talking with family members who were also grieving her loss, so a lot of tears were shed yesterday. I am certain there will be many more to come as we visit with family and cry and laugh and share memories together today, and in the days to come. It is helping to share pictures with each other and to remember days gone by. I have 61 years of memories with my sister. She was the youngest of five. I am the middle child, but the oldest of three girls, so I also have another sister. We also have two older brothers.

So, it was comforting to me this morning to read this first verse, and to be reminded that my heart is in the hand of the Lord. Amen! He knows all about me. He obviously knew this was coming, although I did not, so he had my heart prepared. He has gone before me and prepared the way for what he wants to do in my life and in the lives of all those who were touched by the life of my sister. I don’t know what lies ahead, but he does. He is the potter and I am the clay. I know that through this grieving process that he will bring much healing to my heart, and that he will mold and make me according to his will. I trust in his love.

Pursue Kindness

8 The way of the guilty is crooked,
but the conduct of the pure is upright…
13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered…
15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers…
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor.

My sister was a very giving person, although she never had much in the way of material wealth at all. She never met a stranger. She had a way of always making people feel at home. She had a great sense of humor, and she could always find something to smile or laugh about, even when life was kicking her hard. Her heart always reached out to those who were in need, or to those who were hurting and lonely. She would have taken in all of the strays if she could, I think. She would have given you the shirt off her back if you needed it, even if she had to do without. That is the kind of person she always was.

Yet, she had emotional scars from our troubled childhood, and she had great difficulty dealing with that pain. I empathized. It took me a long while to be healed emotionally from the things that took place in our early years. I battled many years with depression. I turned to other things, other than to God, at times, to try to mask my pain or to escape what I was feeling inside. I know she wanted to be healed. I did, too. And, yet, the pain lingered. She had many physical ailments, too. She suffered much in this life. I cried with her and over her often. I wanted so much for her to be free and to be healed. I believe God has now healed her. I believe he heard her cries for mercy and that he delivered her from her suffering. I believe he has now turned her weeping into dancing and that he has now clothed her with joy, and I find great comfort in that. It brings healing to my heart.

The Upright

22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
and brings down the stronghold in which they trust…
29 A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright gives thought to his ways.
30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel
can avail against the Lord.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.

One day we are all going to die physically. It is inevitable unless Jesus comes back first, and we are one of his, and so we go to meet him in the air.

When someone we love dies, it is cause for reflection concerning our own lives. How have we chosen to live our lives? What will we be remembered for? Have we wasted our lives, living for ourselves and for our own pleasure? Or, have we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and thus we have given our lives to him to be lived for his honor and glory?

Jesus Christ, God the Son, shed his blood on a cross for our sins so that we could go free of the punishment of sin – eternal damnation – and so we could be free of slavery to sin. As well, he died to set us free to no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15). He created each one of us for a purpose. He has a plan for our lives. He gives meaning and direction to our lives. He heals the brokenhearted. He sets the captive free. He receives us and he loves us even when humans have rejected and have abandoned or mistreated us. He is my life! Without him I don’t know where I would be. And, one day I will get to be with him forever, too. Amen!

So today, upon the reflection of the death of a loved one, and in consideration of the shortness of life, I pray that we will all think about our lives and where we are headed, not just in the sense of eternity in heaven or hell, though that is most critical, but that we would give thought to our ways here on earth. If someone were to write a eulogy about our lives, what would that look like? Are we living for Jesus Christ and making a difference in the lives of others for God’s eternal kingdom, or are we focused mainly on ourselves and on what we want? Are we holding on to sin, or have we given Jesus everything? Are we going our own way, or do we truly want God to have his way in our lives? I pray it will be the latter.

I pray for myself today that God/Jesus would have his way in my life in my grieving process, that he will heal my hurt, and that he will use me for his glory to show his love to others who are also hurting and grieving over difficult or painful situations in their lives. I pray he will mold me and make me after his will, while I am waiting on him, yielded and still. I pray for his will to be accomplished in my life through this pain, as well as I trust him to heal me and to help me through this grieving process. And, I pray that through it all that Christ Jesus would be seen in me in how I respond to this pain, in how I treat others, and in my own heart response to my Lord in allowing him to do in my life what he wants to do through this time of sorrow.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934
George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Not Be Silent

My youngest sister died today, so it is a sad day for me. She was 61 years old. As I cried through the pain of my loss, the Lord encouraged me with the words to a song he gave me to write in December of 2012. I believe my sister called to God for help and he healed her. She had been sick many years. I believe he turned her wailing into dancing, and that he clothed her with joy. Amen!

~

This psalm, updated to our relationship with Jesus Christ, God the Son, is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise for all that God has done for us in providing salvation for us from sin through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and through his resurrection. He delivered us from our ultimate destiny of hell, and emptiness, and slavery to sin, and he healed our hearts and souls and gave us new lives in Christ Jesus through our faith in him as our Lord (master) and Savior. He turned our weeping into joy!

When we were outside of faith in Jesus Christ and still in bondage to sin and selfishness, we could not see God, and we did not recognize our need of Christ. We were self-sufficient and felt secure where we were. Yet, Jesus Christ, by his love and mercy, forgave us, and we, by faith, now stand confident in Him. By his grace he set us free! Amen! And, because of all that he did for us and he continues to do on behalf of those who love him, we give him thanks and praise and honor and glory. We should be so filled up in our spirits with joy that we cannot hold it inside, but we must sing of his praises and share his gospel always.

Not Be Silent / An Original Work / December 3, 2012
Based off Psalm 30

O Lord my God, I’ll exalt You.
I called for help,
And You healed me.
O Lord my God,
You brought me from the grave.
You spared me from hell.
Sing to the Lord, you saints of His;
Praise His holy name today.
Weeping may remain for a night;
Joy at break of day.
Our debt He did pay!

O Lord my God, I said, “I will
Ne’er be shaken.” Secure, I felt.
O Lord my God, You forgave me.
Confident I stand in You.
When I could not see
Your face I was dismayed.
I called to You. O Lord,
You are my help.
You were merciful to me;
By Your grace set free!

O Lord my God, I’m so thankful for
Salvation through my Jesus.
You turned wailing into dancing;
Clothed me with Your joy today,
That my heart may sing
To You and not be silent.
Praise Your name.
O Lord my God,
I will give you
thanks forevermore.
My Lord, I adore!

http://originalworks.info/not-be-silent-2/

He Calls Us

Monday, January 26, 2015, 4:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “A Still Small Voice.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 18 (selected verses).

His Own Desire

1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace…
5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice. ~ 18:1-3, 5 ESV

When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures. We are naturally selfish, and we seek after what pleases us. We are separate from God, without hope, and destined to spend eternity in eternal torment. Yet, when we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and we turn from living for sin and self, and we are born anew of the Spirit of God, our desire should now be for God and to do what pleases him.

Yet, we still live in flesh bodies, and we still have the propensity to sin, so our flesh often or frequently battles against what the Spirit desires. And so we must fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, so that we can walk by the Spirit of God (See: Eph. 6:10-20; Jas. 4:7-10; 2 Tim. 2:22; Heb. 12:1-3). Thus, we must daily resist Satan and the flesh, and we must yield to the control of the Spirit of God over our lives. We can be victorious over the flesh in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate fully with that work.

We will not be victorious over our flesh, though, if we continually yield to the flesh, and/or if we persist in feeding our sinful desires by regularly involving ourselves in activities which are sinful. We cannot get victory over sinful habits, as well, if we justify and rationalize away our sin, and/or if we call it something other than what it is. For instance, many Christians would not think of going out and having sexual relations with someone to whom they are not married, nor would they seriously consider murdering someone or robbing a bank. And, yet they will lust in their hearts, dream of romantic relationships with others, view pornography, and watch TV shows or movies with sexual situations or with love affairs in them. They may also hate others or cheat on their taxes or on their time sheets at work.

The Power of The Tongue

4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook…
6 A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body…
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits. ~ 18:4, 6-8, 21 ESV

In James 3:8 we read that no man can tame the tongue. “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” In Luke 6:45 we read: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” As well, we read in Ephesians 4:29 that we should not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths “but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” And, in 2 Peter 2:18-19 we read about false teachers who “mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’”

Our mouths (tongues/speech) can be used for good or for evil. They can bring blessing or cursing. They can build up or destroy. They can wound or they can heal. So, how do we use our words for good and not for evil? Well, according to what we read here, what we say with our mouths is a reflection of what is in our hearts. If we have unforgiving and bitter spirits, it will come out in what we say. If we hate anyone or have resentment in our hearts towards them, our speech should reflect that at some point or another. As well, if we are jealous or envious of others, eventually our lips will reveal what we have tried to keep hidden. Or if we love our Lord, follow Jesus, are submissive to the Spirit’s work, and walk in His love, this should also be revealed through the words which we speak.

So, if we want good to come out of our mouths and not evil, then we need to not be taking evil into our minds and hearts, and we need to not be holding on to what is evil. As well, we need to not be participating in evil acts. In contrast, we need to be in the study of the Word each day, listening to it, meditating on it and applying it, by God’s grace, to our daily lives. And, if we are saying things we wish we would not have said, and we wonder “Where did that come from?” then we need to pray for God to examine our hearts and to show us what is in there that needs to be cleansed so that we can cut that cancer out by the power of the working of the Spirit within us. Yet, there are probably many who know exactly what it is in their hearts from which their mouths speak, but they don’t want to cut the cancer out.

A Strong Tower

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe…
12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
But humility goes before honor…
15 The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him
And brings him before great men. ~ 18:10, 12, 15-16 NASB

So, what can we do about sin, selfishness and the taming of our tongues? Well, first of all we must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives. We do this by humbling ourselves before God, by believing in what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, and by agreeing with God about our sin by turning from it and by turning to God via faith in Jesus Christ. Then, when we believe in Jesus, we are thus crucified with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, we are born anew of the Spirit of God, and we are given new lives by God to be lived in the power and working and strength of the Spirit of God within us. By us making this decision to make Jesus Christ Lord of our lives, we choose to no longer live for ourselves but for Christ who gave himself up for us. We choose to no longer live to satisfy the sinful desires of our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Our desire is now for God/Christ, to walk in his ways.

If this does not describe your salvation experience, though, then I would ask that you go before God in prayer, that you humble yourself before him, repent of your sin, and allow the Holy Spirit of God to transform your heart and mind away from living for sin and self to walking in the Spirit in Christ’s holiness. So many people these days are teaching a false grace that says you don’t have to repent, and that you don’t have to obey Christ, and that God is pleased with you no matter what you do, yet that is not what scripture teaches. You don’t want to trust in this false grace and then one day hear God say that he never knew you. Make sure of your salvation today. God’s grace teaches you to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while you wait for Christ’s return. Jesus Christ did not die just so you could escape hell and go to heaven when you die. He died “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14).

Yet, if you are sure of your salvation, but you have been giving in to the flesh, and you have been playing with sin, and you have been entertaining sin in your mind via your own imagination or via the things you watch or listen to, then I pray today that you would repent of your sin and trust in Christ Jesus, that he has given you all that you need to live a godly life, and then to believe that he has set you free from the control of sin so that sin no longer should be your master.

And, if your mouth is speaking things they ought not to speak, then I pray you would go before God in prayer, seeking his face, and inquire of him as to what is in your heart, for our words reflect what is in our hearts. I also pray you will be willing to hear what the Spirit says to your heart, that you will not resist his voice, and that you will obey him by taking care to get rid of all bitterness, rage, malice, and/or unforgiveness, etc. Or, if you already know what is in your heart, but you have been unwilling to let go of a particular sin, then I pray you will yield to the power and working of the Spirit of God in your life and that you will leave that sin behind you. Jesus is calling each and every one of us to follow him in obedience. Will you listen to his still small voice and obey him today?

A Still Small Voice / An Original Work / May 23, 2011

In a still small voice He calls you.
Won’t you hear and let him in?
He’s still speaking, oh, how gently.
He died to save you from sin.
Softly He speaks to our hearts.
His mercy and love imparts.
Won’t you come to Him today?
Let Him wash your sins away.

In a still small voice He whispers,
Kindly, calling you to Him.
He loves you so much, He’s willing
You not die, but live with Him.
He keeps prodding, gently so,
For His grace, you come to know.
He died so that you’d go free;
Live with Him eternally.

In a still small voice He hastens
You to turn your lives to Him,
Humbly walking in obedience,
Making Him your Lord and King!
Turn from your sin, turn to God,
Put your trust in Christ, His Son.
Invite Him into your hearts.
He’ll give you a brand new start.

http://originalworks.info/a-still-small-voice/

Rejoice in The Lord Always

Fear, anxiety, and worry must be universally troublesome to most people because God/Jesus Christ warned his people, and/or he encouraged his people all throughout scripture (and history) to not fear, to not be afraid, to not fret, and to not be anxious, but “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,” (to) “present your requests to God. And, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (see Phil. 4:6-7).

One of the antidotes for fear and worry, thus, is to pray with thanksgiving, believing that God is going to answer, and to put our trust in God, knowing he has all things under his control, for fear is the opposite of trust/faith. Yet another antidote for anxiety is to rejoice in the Lord always and to sing songs of praise unto God. So, when Satan throws his darts of fear or doubt our way, we need to pray. It is essential that we choose to put our trust in God, believing that he has our circumstances under his control. And, we must be thankful, we should rejoice, and it is necessary that we praise our God in life, word and in song.

Sometimes we worry because we have adopted the ways and patterns of this world, and because we daily take into our minds and hearts far too much of this world’s junk, philosophies, character traits, habits, and attitudes. Instead, we need to focus our minds, hearts and attention on what has eternal value. We need to daily die to our old ways of living in sin and for self, and we need to clothe ourselves with our Lord Jesus Christ, and take on his character and values. What is important to him should be essential to us. And, we should not only read or hear his word, but we should put it into practice in our lives.

Rejoice in the Lord Always! / An Original Work / January 26, 2013
Based off Phil. 4 & Col. 3

Rejoice in our Lord God always.
I say again: “Rejoice always!”
Let your love and kindness show forth.
Our Lord Christ will soon appear.
Do not let yourself be troubled.
Do not fear your circumstances.
In all of life’s complications,
Pray to God with thankfulness.
God will give you peace and rest.

Set your minds on things of heaven:
What is true and right and lovely.
Do not focus your attention
On the things that pass away.
Therefore put to death your old self.
Clothe yourselves with God’s compassion.
Put the word of Christ in practice.
Let God’s peace rule in your hearts.
Sing songs of praise unto God.

In all of life’s circumstances
I’ll learn to trust; be contented.
Whether I have none or plenty,
I will give thanks unto God.
I can live my life to please Him,
Because Jesus gives me His strength.
My God will meet all of my needs,
From his treasure chest in Christ.
Glory, praise be unto God.

http://originalworks.info/rejoice-in-the-lord-always1/

Nothing Can Separate Us

Based off Romans 8:28-39

This is one of the greatest and most precious promises of scripture which applies to those whom God is for, who are in Christ Jesus by faith, who love God, and who have been called according to his purposes. Nothing and no one can separate us from Christ’s love. Amen! No matter what we go through, Jesus will always be there for us. Even when we fail him, and we fall into sin’s deceptive ways once again, he is there to pick us back up and to restore us if we will repent of our sins and choose to walk in obedience to him once again. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can always count on him! He is completely faithful to all his promises. No matter what tragedies in life we face, what difficulties, and/or what seemingly impossible situations we may encounter, he will always be there for us to comfort, encourage, strengthen and bring much healing to our hearts and bodies. Amen!

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. How are we conquerors? We are victorious over sin and the effects of life’s difficulties on our minds, emotions and bodies when we choose to apply the truths of scripture, and the teachings and remedies of Christ, to our sin problems and to our human weaknesses, trusting the Lord Jesus daily to work in and through us for his honor and glory and praise.

Nothing Can Separate Us / An Original Work / March 28, 2013

Based off Romans 8:28-39

Nothing can separate us
From Christ’s love now within us:
Not trouble, hardship, nor famine,
Nor danger, nor sword.
No, in all of these things
We are more than conquerors!

For your sake we face hardship.
We are sheep to be slaughtered.
I am convinced that death,
Nor life, nor anything else
Will separate us from
The love of God now in Christ.

What, then, shall we say to this?
God for us: who against us?
He who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all –
How will He not, with Him,
Graciously give us all things?

Who brings a charge against us?
God justifies His chosen.
Who is He that condemns?
Christ Jesus; died, rose again.
He’s at the right hand of God,
Interceding for us.

http://originalworks.info/nothing-can-separate-us/

Giving Thought to Our Ways

Saturday, January 24, 2015, 5:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 13-14 (selected vs. NASB).

Understanding Our Ways

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,
But he who is devious in his ways despises Him…
8 The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way,
But the foolishness of fools is deceit. ~ 14:1-2, 8

I think that many times, if we are not careful, we can just let life happen to us, and we might give no or little forethought to where we are headed or to how God would have us spend our time, which he has given (allotted to) us on this earth. Many people live like this. They go to work, come home, eat dinner, and then sit and watch TV, read books, play games, surf the net, or just hang out and do whatever it is they do, but they don’t really think about their lives in terms of them being here for a purpose and that God has an assignment for them to do. They aren’t really going anywhere. They are just existing and putting in their time and making the best of what they have been given, or so they think.

Yet, if we are wise, we will give thought to our ways. We will realize that we are not just here by accident, but that there is purpose in us existing on this earth. We will understand that God created us with a plan in mind. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He has something he wants us to do, and he created us to be someone very specific, and for a very good reason (See: Ps. 139). And, we will seek God out to find out why we are here, who he made us to be, what our purpose is in life, and what assignment he has for us to do.

And, then, we will begin to be and do and say what God has planned for us to do and be and say. We will be purposeful in what we do, and not just exist and fill up time with lots of junk. This is not to say we can’t enjoy life, or that we can’t have fun or that we can’t relax and take it easy sometimes. Yet, there needs to be focus and intention in who we are and in what we do, because there is a very good reason we exist. “For such a time as this I was placed upon the earth.” So, wisdom dictates that I find that reason I am here, and that I begin to build on the foundation God/Jesus has laid for me – all in the power, wisdom and strength of His Spirit who lives within me by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Heartaches and Grief

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ 13:12

10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
And a stranger does not share its joy…
13 Even in laughter the heart may be in pain,
And the end of joy may be grief. ~ 14:10, 13

There are many reasons why we sometimes go through difficulties in this life of ours. One of the reasons is that the first humans God created sinned against God, and thus our flesh bodies and this earth were put under a curse, and so we get sick and hurt, we sin, bad things happen to us, people do evil against one another, and disasters sometimes occur. As well, we sometimes bring trouble upon ourselves because of our stubborn rebellion against God, and our refusal to listen to his words of counsel, because we think we know best, and thus we sin against God, and often we must suffer the natural consequences for our sin.

Yet, not all suffering is a result of deliberate sin against God. Job is an example of a righteous man whom God permitted to go through tremendous anguish. Jesus Christ travailed excessively for our sin, although he did nothing wrong. The prophets of old and the apostles of the New Testament went through boundless difficulties for their faith in God/Jesus, and for their commitments to be his messengers, often to people who did not want to hear what they had to say, and who often treated them with contempt, ridicule and much abuse. Jesus said that we would be hated and mistreated as he was so dealt with, and because we are his followers, and for the reason that we stand for what is true and right, and because we are ministers for his gospel message.

Yet, our suffering is not without purpose. One of the reasons God allows us to go through hardships and persecutions is to mature us, to make us holy, and to conform us to the image of Christ. Through our trials and tribulations we learn perseverance, patience, waiting on the Lord, wisdom, discernment and good judgment, and we grow in our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We also learn obedience through the things we suffer, just as did our Lord. As well, through hardships we learn compassion and mercy, and we are able to comfort others in their suffering with the comfort we received from the Lord. Another purpose of affliction is so we learn to not rely upon ourselves but on God. When we go through such times of distress, we call upon the Lord. When we submit to him, then he is able to teach us his will.

Yet, we are human beings in flesh bodies. We are clay vessels in the potter’s hands. We are sometimes weak, and we grow weary, and we cry out to God in our distress seeking him for answers as to why we must go through what we are experiencing, or to gain understanding into what purpose there is for such painful situations to exist in our lives. We may get tired of waiting for God’s intervention, and we may cry out for God to move in our circumstances in a way which would give us relief from our suffering, or to move in the lives and hearts of those we love who are far from God or who are not walking in fellowship with him. Sometimes we are truly seeking wisdom from above in knowing how to respond to such situations when life kicks us hard. Yet, other times we truly lack faith in God’s absolute sovereignty and control over our lives, believing that he has a purpose in it all.

Trust in the Lord

26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death…
29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding,
But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
30 A tranquil heart is life to the body,
But passion is rottenness to the bones…
32 The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding,
But in the hearts of fools it is made known. ~ 14:26-33

So, whether we are struggling with life’s difficulties, or we are seeking God for answers to why things happen the way they do, or if we find that we are in a situation where we need to stop just existing and find the purpose God has for our lives, the answers we are looking for can be found through us living in the fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord means that we love, respect, honor, reverence, obey, and submit to him and to his will for our lives. It means we trust him with our lives and our circumstances and with the people he has in our lives. We believe in his sovereignty over all things, and we accept that God has a purpose in all that he allows and in all that he does, knowing that he is working all things for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose (See: Ro. 8:28).

Many times I have to remind myself that God is absolutely in control, and that he has the people in my life he wants there for a reason, and that he is working in their lives, too. I have to believe that he has my good in mind always, and I must trust him even when I don’t understand his purposes. As well, I am learning to wait on his perfect timing, knowing that he is working in ways I cannot see. Sometimes we want God to just remove the thorn from our lives when his response back to us is, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness” (See: 2 Co. 12:9). In other words, sometimes these things we want gone from our lives serve a greater purpose than we could ever possibly imagine. So, it is essential we submit to God’s purposes, believing that good will come from it all.

Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013

My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.

“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.

“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.

“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”

http://originalworks.info/believe-him/