Be Still And Know That I Am God

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Surrounded by trouble, somewhere there is a light

There are times I feel like chicken little, when an acorn to falls on my head and I think the sky is falling. Over reacting and panicking when there is little to be afraid of. Then there are times when we face great disaster with dire consequences where it would not be possible to over react to the impending doom that hangs over us, restrained only by the thinnest of threads.  In both cases the Christian response  should be the same.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Each Christian should hold fast to the reality that it is God that is is in control of our life, and orders its days and outcome. He is God, and his way is supreme.   It doesn’t matter the evil man has planned, God will surely turn it for the good of his people. Though for a time we might endure a trial to get there.

We know that joseph grew up in the favor of his father Jacob who delighted in him. He was adorned with a special coat of many colors, surely his life was blessed. Until one day his brothers fell upon him and took it all away and sold him into slavery. Abandoned by his family and fallen from the favor of his father, Joseph was bereft and alone, but what was his response?

“Be Still and know that I am God”

We know how the story ends, through the tests of Joseph a family was saved, and because a family was saved, a nation was born, a nation accustomed to both happiness and tears. Because of a nation that was born, a Messiah was born that saved all who would come to Him. Because God takes the long view, and knows that a season of suffering can reap a bounty of eternal life

As Joseph tells his brothers: (Gen 50: 20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Today our country faces what seems to be disaster as the people who would like to destroy God and his morality seem to be taking power…but never forget, God is in control, and he is taking the long view. so what should be our response when we face and see the trial that is coming?

“Be Still and know that I am God”

God has it all in his hands, and if we face a season of suffering, it will bring a bountiful harvest of blessings.  Trust God, rejoice in Him and His promises to us and let not your heart be troubled.

“Be Still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
A[a] very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the [b]midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the [c]tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be [d]moved;
God shall help her, just [e]at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

 

 

 

 

 

As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord

Two ways

rightwayWe live in perilous time my friends.  As the distance between the path that God favors and the path the world favors become increasingly wider we will find that we can no longer have a foot on each path. We will have to choose which path we will follow. And make no mistake, the choice will be costly either way.  Choose the way of the world and you will leave God behind.  Choose God’s way and you will face derision persecution and possibly worse.  There is soon to be no middle path.

I am not a doom and gloom type of person. I consider myself to be a realist, and my wife thinks I am a skeptic ;),  but Jesus told us to count the cost and be prepared to give up the world to follow Him

Luke 14

25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Likewise Joshua tells the people of Israel they cannot flirt with two Gods…you must choose one way or another, and that way has consequences

Joshua 34

14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

16 So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve theLord, for He is our God.”

19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”

21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord!”

22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.”

And they said, “We are witnesses!”

23 “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!”

Through  out my life, as an American citizen, I have been able to stand against the worldly system and oppose it.  Abortion, gay marriage, et al, but the day is coming that such opposition will no longer be free.  They will pass laws forcing me to comply with their will, as they are already doing in California Schools. And I will not comply with their laws, and I will be an outlaw

Because I have counted the cost.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

and the Lord will be with me and all who choose to serve Him

God Bless you Children of God….stay faithful

The Sufficiency Of Grace- Making It Through The Valleys

Making it through the valleys

HOTAs with a lot of people we are in the middle of a heat wave here in Fresno. But unlike most people, I do not have air conditioning at my current clients place of business. So yesterday was 109 degrees Fahrenheit  today will be 110 degrees  and tomorrow is going to be 111 degrees , 110 the next day until we dip down to the polar 105  on Sunday

Now being a dweller of the central valley of California I am used to the heat, and  it is thankfully dry heat  but working with no A/C in a 110 degree heat is just a little too much for me and I am ready to throw in the towel….but I can’t. So I am going to need the sufficiency of the grace of God.

We know grace is what saves us, the unmerited favor of God, but it is also grace that helps us, when we can’t do it ourselves

2 Cor 12:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

mountainIn life we face valleys, on our way to the mountain of God, and these can seem very daunting.  The gap between what we can accomplish and what needs to be accomplished can seem overwhelming. But Grace is that gap filler. God’s loving grace provides us with HIS strength and HIS ability to go through those valleys and rise upon the mountain. His Grace is enough.   We may not like the trial we are going through, it may be painful and sorrowful, but there are purposes for this.  It keeps us reliant on the grace of God, walking in faith growing and maturing.

God does not promise we will not have to go through valleys, but He does promise to help us through.  So don’t hesitate to call on in times of need. He is waiting to perform miracles for you.

He loves you.

 

Stop Holding On…And Just Be Held

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Some times things get so tough, so hard that you often wonder what is the point.  

As adults we are taught that “as the going gets tough, the tough get going” and “that which doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger”. I am a great fan of such sayings and I try to life my life by them. Being strong and of could courage is a message repeated many times through out the bible.

But sometimes….

We have to let go, and give it up to God.

1 Peter 5:5-7

5“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Casting all your care upon Jesus, because He cares for you.

It is important for us to be strong when we can be strong, to endure, to fight to push to resist. But when comes the time that you have done all you can do, you have carried all the burden you can, don’t be afraid to call on the Lord and let Him carry the load for a while

2 Cor 12: 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So while I would never encourage you to give up completely, I would encourage you to take a rest when you come to the end of your endurance and don’t crumble under the load. Grace is God’s gift to us to fill the gaps that we can’t cross, don’t ever be too proud not to take advantage of every gift of God.

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Its okay to be humble.

This song by Casting Crowns says it well.

Walk In The Wilderness

 

Find The Light In The Wilderness

When Jesus found times to be exceedingly difficult, he found time to get away from the crowds and get alone with God. to reconnect and refresh. And whether your wilderness is a walk by a mountain stream, or ten minutes alone at the table with a cup of coffee, there comes a time when all of us are called to the wilderness. A time when we have to get away from distractions , voices and anything else that might take our attention away from what the Lord is trying to say to us. So take time today , to get in your quiet place and seek the Lord.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Philippians 4: 8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Ephesians 5:18-20
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 10:19-22
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

John 4:23-24
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Take moment or a week and get alone with the Lord, for He is talking to us if we will only listen. This wilderness represents not a place of desolation, but a place of commitment, a place of determination, a place of hope. As Jesus walked into the wilderness after his baptism, we walked into it knowing there would be trials, but he also knew that there would be successes in the face of those trials.

James 2

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
God does not want us to suffer, He wants us to THRIVE, but to do so we have to face a small amount of adversity to gain the Christian maturity. But when the trials are over, will you know what God has wanted to impart?

Romans 8
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

So let us come unto Him and find His purpose, for us…we do have one you know, and we have to get quiet and hear Him.

Welcome To The Battle

marine-310x190Life was empty when I was a sinner. Life was dry, life was ugly, and life was bereft of all the joy peace and fulfillment that I have in Jesus Christ. Life was also easier.

When I was a sinner, I didn’t have to think about anyone else, I set the rules, I made my own choices and if I was going to have a god…then He would be of my own creation. Sin didn’t mean anything to me.

Now I had a sense of right and wrong, and of proper and improper, and even moral and immoral; but those where like items on buffet, I could add them to my plate of ethics as I passed by, or I could leave them. I was in control. I was the big boss…..I was a mess.

Then one day I met Jesus, and the dryness of the desert was made into a garden. On the day I met Jesus, my life in Him became beautiful. And on the day that I met Jesus, my life became challenging. I was like a fish that had changed directions in a stream, and instead of slip streaming along in the world I was fighting against the current of it. I was in a battle. The good news was that I was not in the battle alone. I had the almighty God, the Creator of everything on my side and he was helping me, and helping me in a way that made me grow. He carried 95% of the battle and he let me carry 5%. This is his plan to help us grow.

The Fact of the Battle

The first and foremost thing we have to accept is that there is a battle raging within us. A battle of wanting to good, and wanting bad, of wanting to be holy, and wanting to sin, and of serving Christ and serving ourselves. Paul spoke of this battle many times in his writings to the churches

1 Timothy 6: 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul encouraged us to take the battle head on because it indeed was warfare.

2 Corinthians 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

While the weapons of our warfare are not physical (carnal) they are mighty, and the war we are fighting is against a mighty enemy, but please don’t forget that we are only shouldering a small portion of the battle, we are carrying the flag…..the army is the Lord’s

The Battle Ground

So we are in a battle, but what kind of battle is it and where is the battle ground?
The battle is in you…in your soul, specifically your mind, will and emotions. Your soul is where you play out your daily lives, where you make the choices of what you will do in life and how you will react to it. It is the place where you have victory…or defeat, depending on what you do.

Man is a three part being, He is above all else a spirit, who has a soul and lives in a body. The body will always be corrupt. It is of this world, it wants things of this world and it usually wants it in excess. The spirit of a Christian is born of God, and will always be of God. It will want Godly things. Both of these parts of you have a voice. Each call to you to be served, the body for fleshly things and the body for spiritual things and the battle ground between the too, is your mind will and emotions. If you are to live a Christian life then your response is to be to say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit. Paul puts it this way:

Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

There is no good to come from the body, the best you can do is put it on the altar and sacrifice it.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The mind however takes a little more effort, and here once again is the battle ground, we must wrestle the mind away from the control of the flesh (which once had complete control of the mind) and turn it to the Spirit’s influence. You might notice that I seem to vary between capitalizing the word Spirit. I do this because the spirit of a Christian is intertwined with the Spirit of God, He indwells every Christian and it is through His power that we can even hope to overcome the flesh.
Paul restates this same idea in Ephesians:

Ephesians 4: 17
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness

The Purpose Of The Battle

So why do we have to face this battle? I mean if God can completely renew my spirit, couldn’t he throw in a soul cleaning for free? While to our minds this might seem to be the best way God has His purpose. James gives a glimpse into the purpose of the battle.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James and Paul echo each other here, the purpose of the battle is to make us perfect complete and lacking nothing. There is an old saying that if you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. If you teach the same man how to fish, he will never be hungry. God, through the battle, allows us to overcome the tests and trials of the flesh that we might become mature Christians. God doesn’t will that any of us remain incapable, falling back to the starting line, each and every time. God wants us to face the battle so that if we take two steps forward, and through the testing we fall back one step, we have gained one step, and it is all ours. We have chiseled that truth, that success in faith, into the stone of our foundation and no one can ever take it away from us again. Gaining confidence in our ability to stand in faith for the Spirit and against the flesh is the purpose of the battle. It is why we are not stuck on a cloud somewhere insulated from everything. And please remember:

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
God has not sent you into battle alone; He carries all that you cannot.

Victory in the Battle

So then the ultimate victory in the battle is that we add, one at a time, these stones of truth to our foundation that we may become a servant of God, fit for His use, no longer struggling through life…but turning around what we have received and reaching out to others imparting words of life to them that they too may have what Peter calls “all things that pertain to life and godliness”.

2nd Peter 1:3 His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue

So how do we gain this victory? By choosing do to what is right instead of wrong; by choosing to keep a peaceful heart instead and venting our frustrations; and finally by choosing to keep our mind on Christ, instead of the things. And by doing so, we transform our mind will and emotions. Becoming perfect, complete and lacking nothing is the victory that we are all seeking in Christ and simply taking control of our lives brings that to us.

Yes, it’s hard, it’s not called a battle and a fight for nothing, but it is not TOO hard. It is not beyond our capability to overcome, because Jesus is carrying the majority of the weight. It’s just something we need to do. And the final award, well that’s the best of all:

2nd Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

It is up to decide, if the death Jesus gave us on the Cross, is worth the effort to run the race. I think we would all agree it is.

Next Week we take the battle to the Enemy

 

Be Strong In The Lord

Gods-Army-310x190Now, more than ever it is time for us to stand and be counted….. Prayer warriors, wear out the rugs in your prayer closets, Bastions Of God’s Truth Stand Boldly In the Face of the Enemy, Foot soldier, do not shake in your Armor, because even if the whole world is arrayed against us we can Boldly declare as David did when facing Goliath ” Who is this uncircumcised philistine that he should stand against the army of God”
These are perilous times both for the lost and the saved, so many voices so many excuses…its time for Christians to come to the battle and stop giving up the field.
The battle ground is souls, the enemy, well he is the age old enemy and his unwitting victims who spread the lies , and accuse the saints for speaking the truth. They call us haters and seek to limit our speech and our actions, but we must be bolder than ever, louder then ever and uncompromisingly determined to promote the truth.
And everyone has a role.
Surely not everyone is built to stand up and take the hatred and vile evil spewed upon those who stand as bastions of truth, but you can support them with prayer.
It is time men and women of God to strap on the armor…..and take a stand. Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

I will stand with you, my brothers and sister in Christ