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Source of Fearlessness: Believing God 2

25 Oct

Paul was in an untenable situation on a sinking ship during a terrible storm when he was being transported to Rome as a prisoner.  And yet he spoke to the sailors and bid them take heart:

Last night God’s angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, ‘Don’t give up, Paul. You’re going to stand before Caesar yet—and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.’ So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me. But we’re going to shipwreck on some island or other.” Acts 27: 23-26

 

Source of Fearlessness: Believing God

22 Oct

Simon Bolivar: The Conquerer

Caleb gives us a great example of fearlessness.  He’s fearless because he believes the promises of God.  Ten of the spies sent to spy out the Promised Land saw insurmountable odds.  Caleb and Jonathan simply believed what God said.

Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”  Numbers 13:30

Fear of Not Changing

15 Sep

The wood, hay, and stubble of self are so close, and living the crucified life seems so far away

I was thinking this morning that this whole “series” of posts on self have really been on the fear of not changing.  Not growing.  I’ve been grappling with this, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal. 2:20 (Amplified)

Andrew Murray discusses the reality that I’m grappling with.  Do you ever feel your “self” elbowing its way into the forefront?  My “self” has been disgusting lately.  The battleground has been at my school.  I have been so aggravated with students, work load, and even some co-workers.  I know this sounds dramatic, but in some ways I feel like a grand battle is being played out on a very small battlefield.  I’m going to paraphrase what Andrew Murray says here:

1.  First we must know the truth in Galatians 2:20.  We must know have died to sin.

2.  We must accept this truth in faith.  “And what then?  When he accepts it in faith, then there comes in him a struggle, and a painful experience, for that faith is still very feeble, and he begins to ask, “But why, if I am dead to sin, do I commit so much sin?”

3.  We must accept the answer to the question, which is simply this, “We do not allow the power of that death to be applied by the Holy Spirit.”  This begs the question, “How?”  We’ll take a look at that in a few days.  Do you ever feel like hollering out, “Easier said than done!”

Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up ~ Winston Churchill

11 Apr

This morning God took His scalpel to me and I responded by prostrating myself on the floor in repentance and empowerment.

Ok, back up a step.  You see, I’d ignored Winston Churchill’s and God’s instructions to fight the good fight.  To never give up.  We’re told in Nehemiah 4:14:

I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

I had stopped taking courage from our great and terrible Lord regarding a family member and was experiencing extreme lethargy in my prayer life as a result.

God is great (all the time) and terrible, which means to be feared, that we should stand in awe of Him, and that He is to be  reverenced, honored, and respected.  And this God empowers us to FIGHT.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Eph. 1:18-21

Never, never, never, never give up.  Fight the good fight!

What is Your Mood Today?

20 Mar

One thing doesn't change

Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.  For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes.  I know that by experience.

Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable:  but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.  This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway.  That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue:  unless you teach your moods “where they get off,” you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. –C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Ahab went home in a black mood, sulking over Naboth the Jezreelite’s words, “I’ll never turn over my family inheritance to you.” He went to bed, stuffed his face in his pillow, and refused to eat. 1 Kings 21:3b MSG

Have you ever gone home, stuffed your face in your pillow, and refused to eat?  Or left the house skipping because of a de-lovely breeze, colorful sunrise, and chattering morning birds?  Our days are greatly affected by our moods, which are by definition changeable; but there is something that is unchanging:  God and His love for us.

But I have trusted in Your faithful love.  Psalm 13:5

Just today I was reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer who struggled with melancholy all of his life.  But.  He believed in God and His love.  And so can we!

True North

18 Mar

Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

I read the book “Young Man and the Sea” to my class recently, and this paragraph struck me:

Trust your compass. That’s another thing my dad was always saying. Trust your compass because you can’t trust your instincts in the dark or the fog. Without a compass a man will steer himself in a circle, nine times out of ten. Give up on the compass and you’re lost for sure.

In Ecuador, they call the correct direction for life true north.  Jesus is our true north and it’s soooo, soooo easy to forget. Trust your compass. Trust His Word.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  John 14:6a

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 6

12 Mar

The light comes out in our words.

We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written: “I believed and therefore have I spoken” — we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that, through the thanksgiving of many, the abundant grace might redound to the glory of God. 2 Cor. 4:13-15 KJ21

We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! 2 Cor. 4:13-15 MSG

I like the boisterousness of the Message version of these verses.  We’re not keeping this quiet, not on our lives!

If we die to ourselves and stop being egocentric we will be able to have an attitude of faith.  We will be able to walk by faith and not by sight.  (2 Cor. 5:7)  Faith is being available to God’s faithfulness.  Having faith that 1) We have the treasure of Jesus Christ in these earthen vessels, 2) That He is with us in times of trouble, and 3) Dying to ourselves is the key to thinking eternally, we can shout out, “I believed it, so I said it.”

Verse 15 says that all things are for our sakes.  What does this mean?

  1. All of these problems and pressures we’ve looked at in 2 Cor. 4:8,9 will work change in us if we allow them to.  The enemy sends problems to squash us like grapes and God works them for good in our lives. (Rom. 8:28)
  2. The grace of God spreads to more people through our problems.  As we experience problems, believe in Him, and speak of our belief, the light comes out in our words and God’s grace is spread to others.

Are you willing to look at problems as opportunities–both for you and for those in your life?

Eternal thinking leads to peace.