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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

The Perfect Storm

15 Oct

Embrace the perfect storm?

I just realized that I haven’t posted for a week!  Life has been kind of a “perfect storm” of International Day at school, birthday party for Mike, report cards, parent conferences, women’s meeting preparation for church, and assignments for my master’s program, oh, and the Bible Club preparation I’m behind on.

This morning I was finishing up preparations for the woman’s meeting this evening, and I realized what a kindness being overwhelmed can be.  When we are overwhelmed we tend to turn to God and give it all to Him–of course, the other option is that we flip out.  The next time you’re overwhelmed, think of it as an invitation to surrender it all on God.

Psalm 16:5-7 5 LORD, You are my portion
and my cup [of blessing];
You hold my future.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD who counsels me  —
even at night my conscience instructs me.

P.S.  I’m adding this postscript to tell you that I’ve had one of those “little” miracles that happen when we surrender all to the Lord.  The projects that I thought would take me every moment of the weekend are finished by 2 in the afternoon on Saturday.  Don’t know how.  Just know that He is behind it.  🙂

Fear of Not Changing: The Sequel.

17 Sep

The struggles with self can make the life of total dependence upon Christ seem oh-so-far away

Certainly, I know–and I would imagine that you do too–the wonders of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.  We HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED.  It’s happened and we need to accept it.  That is my position.  However . . . .if we are honest, we know that we do not live the crucified life totally (to say the least).

I think that complacency is the greatest threat to lack of growth.  I think it is okay to be bothered by the dissonance between position and practice.  Like the sand that bothers the oyster into producing a pearl, the pokings of the self in our lives (hopefully) move us to turn toward Christ and die to self.

. . . and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh,  I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20 HCSB

Why do we have these imperfections?  “Why?  For this reason:  because our hearts, perhaps, have not been fully prepared by a complete discovery of sin.  There may be pride, or self-consciousness, or forwardness (offensive boldness or assertiveness), or other qualities of this nature which we have never noticed.  We have limited the work of the Holy Spirit.  When we squarely face these imperfections, these sins in our lives, we can turn to Christ, knowing the power of His death, and continually say, ‘Lord Jesus, let the power of Thy death work through, let it penetrate my whole being'”.  (Paraphrased from Andrew Murray, my new favorite Christian author.)

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!”

Entering into Rest

12 Sep

People wonder, when they hear so many sermons about faith, and such earnest pleading to believe, and ask why it is they cannot believe.

There is just one answer:  It is self.  Self is working; is trying; is struggling, and self must fail.  But when you come to the end of self and can only cry, “Lord, help me! Lord help me!”–then the deliverance is nigh; believe that.  God will bring you in to that rest. ~ Andrew Murray

When I was young, I had a record player and one record:  “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”  My parents must have gone crazy as I played that record over and over and over again, tunelessly singing along.  Some of you may be having the same reaction to all these posts on self.  But I have to say that I feel the same way now as I did then, that I have stumbled across something new and marvelous.

THEREFORE, WHILE the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it. Hebrews 4:1 (Amplified)

How Do I Deny Myself?

31 Aug

Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galatians 2:20 (The Message)

So the question is, “How do I deny myself?”  Andrew Murray has more to say on this subject:

“Beware!  Remember that Christ descended into death and the grave and it is in the death of self, following Jesus to the uttermost, that the deliverance and the life will come.

And now, what is the use that we are to make of this lesson of the Master?  The first lesson will be that we should take time, and that we should humble ourselves before God, at the thought of what this self is in us; put down to the account of the self every sin, every shortcoming, all failure, and all that has been dishonoring to God, and then say, ‘Lord, this is what I am;’ and then let us allow the blessed Jesus Christ to take entire control of our life, in the faith that His life can be ours.” ~ The Master’s Indwelling

“Not I”

27 Aug

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. Galatians 2:20 (Ampl.)

This is my favorite Bible verse and the first one I ever memorized.  I long to live in it and fail miserably.  I fear that I will NEVER live in it.  But I’m still s-l-o-w-l-y working my way through Andrew Murray’s, The Master’s Indwelling, and I read a passage that has shed new light on the situation and on the parable mentioned:

The reason why Christians pray and pray for the Christ life to come in to them, without result, is that the self life has not been denied.  You ask, “How can I get rid of this self life:”  You know the parable:  the strong man kept his house until one stronger than he came in and cast him out.  Then the place was garnished and swept, but empty, and he came back with seven other spirits worse than himself.  It is only Christ Himself coming in that can cast out self, and keep out self. . . . Jesus Christ is able, by His divine grace, to prevent the power of self from ever asserting itself or gaining the upper hand; Jesus Christ is willing to become the life of the soul; Jesus Christ is willing to teach us so to follow Him, and to have heart and life set upon Him alone, that He shall ever and always be the light of our souls.  Then we come to what the apostle Paul says: “Not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  The two truths go together.  First “Not I” then, “but Christ liveth in me.”

What if What We Hope for Doesn’t Happen?

25 Aug

Romans 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out [This is written in the perfect passive tense – we don’t have to do anything to make the love flow] in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

What if what we hope for doesn’t happen?  If we are focused inward on the circumstance our heart will become sick.  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick (grieve)” (Prov 13:12).  But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts”.  So if we focus upward our heart is healed with His love.  Remember in Romans, how the heroes of the faith often did not see their hopes fulfilled until after their deaths!

Just Goin’ With the Flow?

30 Jul

. . .  in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit  now working in the disobedient.  We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also.But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love  that He had for us,  made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved!  Ephesians 2:2-5 HCSB

More on Mike’s recent messages:  As sinners we have a tendency to “go with the flow” whether as unsaved sinners or saved sinners.  (I’m talking about practice and not position here.)  As we talked about a few days ago, we have two sources upon which to draw.  When we draw upon God we are firmly rooted next to the river.  When we draw upon other resources (ourselves, others) we go with the flow.

I read a Young Adult book named Peeled last night by one of my favorite YA authors, Joan Bauer.  It deals with how contagious fear is and can spread like a virus.  I don’t want to spoil the plot line, but I highly recommend it as a read aloud for your intermediate age children.