All For Him

Thursday, September 7, 2017, 4:59 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 1 (Select vv. ESV).

Jesus, the Sovereign (vv. 15-20)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

When we see or hear about all the evil that is going on in the world, and we experience, or witness, or hear about so much human suffering and heartache, we may be tempted to ask, “Where is God in all of this?” We may find ourselves thinking that God is on vacation, or asleep, or that he isn’t really paying attention to all the misery that is happening all around us. Or, we may, as some do, believe God can’t do anything about it, as though he is impotent (powerless) instead of omnipotent (all-powerful).

Many people reject the belief that our God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – is completely sovereign over all he has made, because then they would have to come to grips with the knowledge that God could have done something to stop it all, but he didn’t, not yet. Yet, it is not ours to question God, or why he does what he does, or why he allows what he allows. If he were to remove all evil from the world, wouldn’t he have to remove all people? What one of us never ever sins? Although not one of us should still be walking in sin, we still have the propensity to sin, and we are still tempted to sin, at times, and we may still sin in our thinking, attitudes, words or actions sometimes (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), as long as we are still in these flesh bodies.

The thing is, our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, who is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made, created an angel in heaven who then wanted to be God, and so he rebelled against God, along with a third of the angels in heaven. God, who is all-knowing, created him, even knowing he would rebel, and that he would take a third of the angels with him, and then that he would tempt humans, and that they would sin against God. In fact, God created humans knowing that we would sin against him, too. So, why did he do this? I believe it is because God wanted people who would love, worship and serve him on their own accord, who would be driven to his breast, who would need and want him, and desire him above all else.

The other thing is, we may never know until we get to heaven why God chose to do things the way he did, and does, but what we can know with certainty is that he is completely sovereign over all that he has made, and he is in control over all authorities and powers, and that nothing can happen in this world without his causing it or allowing it to exist, and but what he has a reason and a purpose for it all. He chose to allow evil to exist, and for us to be born into sin, and thus for us to need him to save us. Even before the creation of the world and humans, God had planned, I believe, that Jesus Christ, God the Son, should be the one to redeem us from our sins.

Now Reconciled (vv. 21-23)

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The truth of the matter is, since God gave humans a choice to believe in him or to not believe in him, to obey him or to disobey him, and that humans did choose to sin against God, we are all born into sin. All people have sinned against God, and we have all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval, in our own flesh, and so we need Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, and to purify our hearts, and to make us holy. So, Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God. And, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He purchased us back for God with his blood, shed on a cross, so that we could be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so we could love, honor, worship and follow (obey) our Lord in his power.

Yet, not everyone is saved. We have to individually trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. When we do, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Yet, this is not a one-time deal, and then we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven. We must continue in the faith we profess. It is the one believing (present tense) in Jesus Christ who has the promise of eternal life (Jn. 3:16). If we persist in continuing in (walking in) sin, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and eternal damnation (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Mature in Christ (vv. 24-29)

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, so that they can be saved from their sins, and we tell them the truth of what God’s Word says, we put our own lives on the line, for not everyone will accept the message, not even many who call themselves Christians. And, so we will be hated, rejected and persecuted by some, or by many people. Yet, we must not shrink back from proclaiming the whole counsel of God out of fear of what humans might do to us, or say about us. We have to tell people the truth, because that is the only hope they have. If we fill their minds with lies, and thus false hopes, just to make them feel good about themselves, or about us, we may be sending them straight to hell by our “kindnesses.”

The goal of us sharing the gospel, warning against rebellion against God, warning of judgment, and calling for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, or renewed faith in Christ, is not to be superior, self-righteous, know-it-alls who just want to look down our noses on others. Those of us who share God’s Word in all its truth, with sincerity of hearts, do so because we want to see people saved from their sins, set free from bondage to sin, and set free to worship God by their lives in living to his righteousness, and no longer according to the flesh.

We also want to see our brothers and sisters in Christ move to maturity in Christ in their walks of faith, no longer tossed here and there by every wind of teaching by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (See: Eph. 4:11-24). We want to see them loving God, doing what he says, and following him wherever he leads them, no matter the cost. For, this is the reason Jesus died, that we might live for him and not for ourselves.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

 

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Of Faith

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 4:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “His Tender Mercies.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of faith.

Be Not Anxious (Matthew 6:25-34)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I think it is human nature to want to know the end from the beginning of a situation before we will venture into that area. It can be, in the natural, a fearful thing to step out into the unknown, not knowing what lies ahead or how things are going to come together. Yet, when we walk by faith, we learn to trust the Lord in all things, and we believe him to work it all out according to his plans and his purposes.

In the natural, so many things could go wrong, and our plans could fall apart. But, when we are being led by the Lord, and he is the one directing our paths, he will go before us, and he will prepare the way for us. This is not saying we will never face obstacles, but that God is completely sovereign (in control), and that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him; who have been called according to his purposes.

So, we learn to trust him, and to rest in him, and to believe him to supply all that we need for what he has called us to do. And, so we inquire of him to know what we are to do, where we are to go, and what we are to say. We do what he says, and then we leave the results in his hands. We follow him and his lead in our lives, and we trust him, too, with the people in our lives.

Of Little Faith (Matthew 8:23-27)

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

When we follow the Lord in obedience, it does not mean it will always be “smooth sailing.” Sometimes we will face storms, i.e. difficult and troubling situations which shake us, and which may be life threatening, as well. And, it may seem to us that God is asleep on the job, and that he is not paying attention to what is going on in our lives. But, he is still sovereign (in control), and he has it handled. Nothing escapes his notice. He has a plan and a purpose for it all, and he will see us through any and every situation.

So, we should not let the storms of life unsettle us or to make us feel as though there is no recourse or that there is no hope. We must be steadfast in hope and in faith no matter our circumstances. Walking by faith often means that we don’t know what lies before us, and how things are all going to work out. But, when we know God is in it, we have to know that he will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Why Do You Doubt? (Matthew 14:22-33)

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Sometimes, when things get particularly bad, which they will sometimes, we lose sight of Jesus and we get lost in the details of what we are going through. And, that is when we begin to fear and to fret. And, that is because we are looking at the circumstances and we are focusing on them rather than focusing on the God who is sovereign (in control) over our circumstances. So, we may begin to listen to the lies of Satan, instead, and begin to think that God can do nothing about what we are going through.

And, even though Jesus is right there with us in our circumstances, we may not recognize him, and so our hearts may begin to sink. And, when we cry out to him, he reveals himself to us, and he shows us how he is there. Sometimes it isn’t just that he is there with us through our trials, though, but that he is the one initiating the trials in our lives, because he has a plan and a purpose for them to mature us, to get us to rely on him and not on ourselves, and to teach us patience and endurance.

We might, at times, step out in faith, and be walking with the Lord in obedience, and then along the way get sidetracked by troubles or hardships and forget that our Lord is in control. And, then we begin to drown in our difficult circumstances because we took our eyes off Jesus. So, we need to refocus our attention on Jesus, be renewed in our faith, and keep going forward, even when we don’t know what lies ahead. We must walk by faith and not by sight, believing God to do his work in our lives, and in the lives of those we love, even if we don’t see yet what has been promised.

His Tender Mercies / An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.