Scripture is our most powerful weapon. It increases our faith and spiritual growth, gives us victory over sin, is our weapon against Satan's attacks, and it nourishes and heals our body.
There is no man-made weapon that is able to fight the demonic, evil, enemy we are up against. There is only one weapon for this task....the Word Of God.
Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word Of God, the Bible, is sharper than a two-edged sword. Ephesians 6 says it is our sword of the Spirit, that the enemy we are fighting is not of flesh and blood.
The Book of John says Jesus is the Word made flesh. We must know this Word. We must know Jesus. He is our weapon. Scripture memorization should be one of the greatest desires of those who follow Jesus.
Get the Word of God inside you.
Be Armed and Dangerous!
I think we all know what a 'roof' is, but let's look at the written definition; 'the cover of a building; the highest point; summit; an upper limit; ceiling.' A roof is something that is over our head, above us, a covering. Our problems and adversities can be seen as a roof. They cover us. They are over our head, sometimes pressing down upon us. They can become the highest point of our life, towering above all else. Sometimes they can create such darkness that we can see no light at all.
Our houses, now a days, have slanted roofs, making it virtually impossible to stand or walk on. But in Biblical days, the roofs were flat, making it easy to walk around on and spend time there. Samuel spoke with Saul on his roof (1 Samuel 9:25). David walked on the roof of the palace (when he shouldn't have) (2 Samuel 11:2). Tents were pitched on roofs (2 Samuel 16:22). These people were able to walk on their roofs, placing them under their feet, while turning their eyes directly up into the light of heaven!
In Acts 10:9, Peter went up on the roof to pray, therefore placing all that was hanging over his head under his feet. In Luke 5:19, men made an opening in the roof to lower their friend down to Jesus for healing. They literally stood on top of their problem and broke through it. In Matthew 8, the centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, telling Jesus that he felt undeserving to allow Him to come under his roof. Are we coming to Jesus and asking Him for help with what is hanging over our heads?
These days, even though we can't go out on our roofs, Jesus has given us the power to stand on top of all our problems. Jesus has given us a great vision of what it's like in heaven. I thank Him for His indescribable gift, and if it were possible for me to go out on my roof to pray, that's exactly where I would be!
Is the roof of your problems over you head and blocking out all hope? Or is it under your feet as you gaze into the Light of heaven?
A 'residence' is a building used as a home; a dwelling. So, if someone comes to your house and asked who lives there, you would, of course, give them your name. This is your home, your dwelling, your residence.
The Bible says our 'house' or 'tent' that we live in is our body. "We know that if the earthly tent (our body) we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." - 2 Corinthians 5:1. It is through our faith in Jesus that we will gain a heavenly body when our earthly body is done. "While we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." - 2 Corinthians 5:4. While we are here on this earth, our body will continue to age and deteriorate, causing us to groan and become burdened. We begin to desire the heavenly body that is promised in Scripture.
Our bodies are our house, our tent, our dwelling, our residence, while we are on this earth. Matthew 12:43-45 tells about an impure spirit coming out of a person. That spirit then tried to find rest elsewhere but was unable to. So, the spirit returned to the 'house' it left. Upon arriving, it found the 'house' swept clean. So, it took seven other spirits with it and made this, once again, its residence, causing the condition of that person to be much worse than it was at first. The person somehow got rid of the impure spirit, but neglected to fill itself with the Spirit of God.
What about your 'house?' Who lives there? Who is the boss? The Word says God's Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are His children. That flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit. That our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in us, whom we have received from God. That the Spirit gives life, and the flesh counts for nothing. That we are not in the realm of the flesh, but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in us. That if we are led by the Spirit, then we are children of God.
So, who is living in your 'house?' Who is 'at home' there? Who 'reigns' there? Is it you?
The definition of 'rend' is 'to split or tear apart or in pieces by violence; to tear the hair or clothing as a sign of anger, grief, or despair.' In the Old Testament, the people often tore their clothes when grief or despair came upon them. Reuben tore his clothes when Joseph was not in the cistern. Jacob tore his clothes when he believed Joseph to be dead. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes when everyone disagreed with them about the land they had explored. Joshua and the elders tore their clothes when they were defeated by the Amorites. Tamor tore her robe after she was raped by Amnon. But the story I want to focus on is in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 34.
This story is about when the Book of the Law was found. It was taken to the King who when he heard the words of the law, tore his robes. He realized the people were not acting in accordance with what was written. He then sent some men to the prophetess, Huldah, to inquire of God. She told them that God was going to pour out upon the people the curses written in the Book because they had forsaken Him. She also told them to tell the King that "Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what He spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord." When the King received this message, he gathered all the people together and "Renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord - to follow the Lord and keep His commands, statues, and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book." He then had everyone pledge themselves to it. In this story, the King tore his clothes in grief and despair over the actions of the people. He humbled himself before God and wept....and the Lord heard him.
Then in Joel, Chapter 2, the people were being warned about the day of the Lord being close at hand. The people were told to 'rend' their hearts, not their garments. To return to the Lord, for He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. That He relents from sending calamity. They were told to gather the people, including the elders and children. It was to be such an important gathering that the bridegroom and bride would even leave the bridal chamber to attend. The priests were to weep between the portico and the altar, asking for the people to be spared from becoming a byword among the nations, causing others to ask, "Where is your God?"
I do believe we, as the church, are right now in a desperate time when we need to rend our hearts. We need to gather together and humbly go before God and weep. We need to pray that God will fill us with the Holy Spirit, giving us the strength and courage of Jesus. We need to pray for a great increase in our faith and hope, allowing us to look past everything that is coming against us, and into the glory that we are promised.
And we know....yes, we know....that God will hear us.
Have you ever remodeled a house or maybe a car? Have you ever remade, changed, made over, modified, redone, reworked, or revised something? This is usually done for the purpose of making something better than it was. To make it more pleasing to the eye or more convenient for use.
Remodeling of a house can be pretty inconvenient as even if it's just one room, all the other rooms seem to suffer through it also. This can be a major disruption as schedules, routines, and comforts get turned upside down. Paint fumes, dust, it all seems to be total chaos. But you know what the end result will be, so this makes it possible for you to put up with all the temporary changes and inconveniences.
The same things hold true when we begin to follow Jesus, who remodels our heart and mind. He wants to make them more pleasing to those around us, and to Him. He may totally upset our schedules, routines, and comforts, turning them all upside down. He may cause us to experience the pains of change, but we know these are only temporary.
Matthew 7:24-25 in the Message Bible says, "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit, but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock."
Saturate yourself with God's Word. Learn to accept the 'interruptions' of your life as small inconveniences that are moving you towards the end result. An end result of being remodeled into someone that in God's eyes will be holy and beautiful....just like Jesus!
So, are you remodeling?
A 'remnant' is 'a usually small part or trace remaining; a small surviving group; an unsold or unused end of piece goods; still remaining; residue; leftovers.' From the definition, it doesn't seem that a 'remnant' would be worth very much, does it? But what about God's remnant? All through history, when people and nations have come against Israel, God has always kept a 'remnant.' And this 'remnant' has always moved forward in strength and perseverance, being able to survive and prosper.
Noah was a remnant when him and his family entered the ark. Lot was a remnant when he left Sodom. Elijah was a remnant when he was the only prophet left. When he cried out to God concerning this, he was told "Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel - all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him." - 1 Kings 19:18. God was still in control, always with a remnant.
In the Message Bible, the title of Romans, Chapter 11, is 'The Loyal Minority,' a remnant. Just like in the Old Testament, there is still a remnant of people who remain fiercely loyal to God. It goes on to say that when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn't succeed. That the chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue His interest in them. Then it explains how the branches of the Holy tree were pruned, allowing other branches to be grafted in. These other branches being us.
Isaiah 10:20-22 says, "In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return."
How about you? Do you no longer rely on whatever has struck you down? Do you now truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel?
Matthew 7:13-14 tells us to "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." This is a remnant.
Are you a part of the 'remnant'?
Relevant is 'having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.' The matter at hand? This could be anything; something good or something bad. Since good things are usually easy to contend with, let's look at something bad, something that puts a complete hold on our life, halting all that we do on a daily basis. Maybe a terminal illness, financial problems, or the loss of a loved one. Maybe a pandemic, one that causes immense sickness and even death. When something like this happens, what becomes 'relevant' to us? What do we think has significant bearing on the matter that is at hand? What do we show or demonstrate to be the truth of the matter?
As Christians, there is one thing that should be relevant to any situation....God; His power and His promises. We know His power, as we witness it every day in everything around us; the sun rising and setting, the changing of the seasons, the birth of a baby. We have access to all His promises, which are written in His Word. Yes, His power and promises are totally unexplainable. But do we honor and glorify Him in all that we can see? Do we take the time to read, and do we believe all that is written in His Word?
His Word tells us that He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. That He teaches us what is best for us and directs us in the way that we should go. That He is with us always, never leaving or forsaking us. That nothing shall be impossible with Him....WITH Him. We must have Him with us. His power must become relevant. His power must be of great significance. His power must be demonstrated by us....on the matters at hand.
How relevant is the power of God in your life? How significant is it on the matters that are currently at hand? Are you able to demonstrate His power in the light of those matters?
So, to you....what is relevant?
The definition of 'receive' is, 'to come into possession of; acquire; to act as a receptacle or container for; to assimilate through the mind or senses; to permit to enter; admit; to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate' believe; to react to in a specified manner; welcome.'
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve became a 'receptacle' for sin. Jacob was worried that Esau would not 'react to him in a welcoming manner.' Moses accepted the Ten Commandments 'as authoritative, true, and accurate.' The Israelites asked God to graciously forgive their sins and to 'take them as His possession.' The blind 'assimilated it through their mind and senses,' and gained back their sight. As we are willing to 'welcome' and 'admit' the comfort of God into us, we will then be made able to give this out to others. When we 'come into possession of' the Holy Spirit, we become a 'container' for his power. We are then able to live a life worthy of the calling we have 'accepted' and 'welcomed.' As long as we accept it as 'authoritative, true, and accurate,' we will be able to repent, hold it fast, and take a stand.
The Book of John talks about those who were following Jesus but turned and left. These were people who were only hearing, but not receiving. They were unwilling to become a 'container' for what was being said. They would not 'take possession' of it. They would not accept it as 'authoritative, true, and accurate.' They did not 'react to it in a welcoming manner.' They did not 'believe.' We cannot afford to become like these people.
We can spend long hours reading the Word. We can listen to, and hear, the Word from many different pastors and speakers. But, until we 'receive' the Word, it will do us absolutely no good. While it becomes a possession to us, we must, in turn, become its possession. We must take it into our minds, becoming a receptacle and container for it, while working to thoroughly understand it. We must allow it to enter into us as we accept it as authoritative, true, and accurate. We must react to it in a welcoming manner. We must believe.
So, have you been reading? Have you been listening? Have you been receiving?
I love this word! It truly speaks to me way down in the depths of my soul. The definition is 'something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.' The definition of derivative is 'parts that originate from another source.' The definition of dependent is 'relying on another for support.' So, you could say that the definition of reality is 'something that does not originate from another source or rely on another for support but exists necessarily.'
Most people will look at whatever aspect of their lives they are currently in as their 'reality.' This could be their job, marriage, children, retirement, sickness, loss, or whatever they are currently dealing with. But in looking at these things as our reality, we will see that they all originate from another source and rely on other things for support. And none of them exist necessarily. "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the REALITY, however, is found in Christ." - Colossians 2:17. Go back and read the definition again. There is only one thing that does not originate from another source or rely on another for support but exists necessarily....God. He is our Reality. Nothing or no one else can fill this position.
A statement in one of the books I have recently read says, "The people whom the world calls successful, are in reality perfect failures." Our daily routines of business as usual and self-preoccupation only serve as a cover of what is the true reality in our lives. When catastrophe strikes; an illness, a death, or some kind of devastation, our daily routines are suddenly swept away and we find ourselves totally exposed. Exposed to how we have truly lived so far; the decisions we've made, and how we have treated others. We find ourselves standing before God. We find ourselves faced with true Reality.
So, as we start each day of our lives, of what we believe is our 'reality,' and are contemplating what lies ahead, wondering if our strength will be great enough, know that this is purely a concern of 'unreality.' If we start each day with true reality, we will start each day with God. The definition of 'God' is 'The supreme or ultimate reality.' Go figure!
We need to get in touch with Reality...and weep. We need to know that the 'reality' of God will take care of all the 'unreality' of our lives.
So, are you living in True Reality?
Purpose is 'something set up as an object or end to be obtained; intention; resolution; determination; goal; objective.' When you pray, do you pray with a purpose in mind? Do you pray with an end to be obtained? With intention, resolution, determination, a goal or objective?
With the way things are in this present time, the prayer requests never stop. Some call for us to step back from whatever we're doing right then, and just pray. But it's my prayer time in the morning that I want to focus on for this writing. Every morning I have a set of memorized, and titled, Scriptures that I go through. Monday's is titled 'God.' Some of them are:
"Be still and know that I am God." I am still. I KNOW, really KNOW that He is God. "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I do not fear. I know that He is with me. That He strengthens and upholds me. "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." I know He is always carrying and sustaining me, all my years. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." God is my refuge and strength. He is presnet with me at all times and in all circumstances. "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." My power comes from Him, making it possible for me to trample on all my adversities. Nothing will harm me. "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." God is always with me, giving me rest. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." He is sovereign in my life. His ways are what's best for me. "No weapon forged against you will prevail." Sickness, disease, other people, whatever the weapon against me, it will not win. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." His peace is mine, keeping my heart from being troubled and afraid. The world is far from capable of giving us any type of peace. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." I am at peace, as my mind is centered on Him.
So, what is my purpose in prayer? To be able to fully grasp exactly who the Lord is, because however I see Him will affect every other aspect of my life. I want His power to be manifested in my life so I am able to use that power, to the best of my ability, for others.
So, what about you? How well do you KNOW Him? Do you pray with a purpose?
Prayer, our wireless connection to God, is a very powerful tool. It is the chalice in which we fetch the water from the rock. It is the ladder on which we climb up to pick the grapes hanging over the wall of heaven. It is the fire that warms the frigid soul. It is the ship that carries away our wants, and comes back with a return cargo of divine help. It is the lever that moves heaven and earth. Prayers are given in exchange for divine help.
When we go to prayer, we need to go with a desire. E.M. Bounds says, "Desire is an absolute essential of prayer. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words." What is your desire right now? Is it for your family's health? Maybe for a loved one's salvation? Maybe for a closer relationship with Jesus? Whatever your desire is, go into prayer with it in your mind. Maybe find a Scripture that will speak into that desire, taking it with you into prayer. Concentrate on your need, allowing it to penetrate the deepest recesses of your heart.
Sometimes people don't spend enough time in prayer. Maybe they feel it's boring, or they can't find the words. Words are not needed. Only your willingness to sit quietly in God's presence. Your desire, and a Scripture, will help you to do this. Give this time to God. The longer you spend with Him, the more of His presence you will be able to feel.
What? You don't have the time? To this I will say that none of us can afford not to take the time to go into prayer. And I guarantee all the tasks that you feel are not getting done will get done. You may even find you have some extra time.
God hears. God knows. God suffers with us. God heals. God answers. We just have to give Him the time to do it.
So, how's your prayer life?
To 'step aside' is to withdraw from one's position or occupation; to step down. Have you ever voluntarily done this for someone? Have you ever stepped aside, maybe from a position of respect or honor, for the good of someone else? In our human nature, these kinds of things don't usually happen voluntarily, do they? Stepping aside could have an adverse effect on our pride...and we all know what pride is.
Examples: How about stepping aside, holding a door for someone, letting them enter before you? This is not so hard, is it? But what if there's a long line inside that door? Would you still step aside? Or when you're up for a promotion at your work, but it is given to someone else. Ouch! Could you step aside for this one...without anger, envy, or hate? This one may not be so easy.
What about in your Christian walk? If you are a follower of Jesus, you will find stepping aside to be a very big part of it, not only for other people, but for Him. We must learn to step aside and let Him have control...of everything. When we are able to do this, we will be able to walk in total victory, no matter what trials come our way. And since we will be facing trials as long as we are alive and breathing, it's beyond me why anyone would not be stepping aside and allowing Him that control.
Being a follower of Jesus means we strive to become just like Him. Did He step aside when He was carrying that cross? Did He step aside when they nailed Him to It? Oh Yes! He stepped aside and gave full and complete control to His Father in heaven.
"Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." - Galatians 5:16
"Trouble has no power in itself to interfere with the relationship of a saint to God."
Step aside and rest in the power of Jesus.
A plow is used 'to cut, lift, turn, and break up soil; to cleave the surface of or move through; to move forcefully into or through something; to proceed steadily and laboriously; strain; strive; struggle.' If you know a farmer, then you know plowing makes up a good part of their life.
Plowing also makes up a good part of our life as we proceed steadily and laboriously through it. As we strain, strive, and struggle to get through whatever this world throws in our path. When we must face something that we didn't see coming, we could say this would be unplowed ground. We suddenly find ourselves in a place or situation that we have never been in before and we have no idea how to handle it. All we know is we now must plow through it. We will all find ourselves, at one time or another, in this type of unplowed ground.
In the Book of Hosea, the Word of God tells us of another type of unplowed ground that we find ourselves in. Verse 10:12 says, "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." This is speaking of our spiritual ground. Ground that we have not plowed because we have not yet learned to seek the presence of the Lord. That when we begin to plow up this ground, we will reap its fruit. The fruit of the unfailing love of Jesus. That when we plow this ground, we will share in the harvest. A harvest of love that will provide us with all the strength, courage, and power we need to face every furrow of our earthly unplowed ground.
Are you standing in the midst of an unplowed field?
Perspective is the mental view of a subject or its parts; the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. We all have our own perspective on pretty much all subjects. But what about Jesus' perspective? If we are His followers, aren't we supposed to try to view things from His perspective? In the Message Bible, Colossians 3:2 states, "Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." If we can do this, then what our eyes are looking at will never by all that is actually taking place. Let's take a look...
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew the importance of what was going to happen to Him. He had the right perspective. One that came from the trust He had in His Father in heaven. He was looking up. He was alert to what was actually happening. His disciples didn't yet possess this perspective, so they slept.
When Jesus turned the water into wine at the Cana wedding, His perspective, His mental view of the situation was that He, Himself, was the new wine, the joy of life. He was alert and looking up. The people only wanted something good to drink. They had their eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things that were in front of them. They didn't yet possess the right perspective.
All the times that the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and shipwrecked, his perspective was his trust in Jesus. "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength, I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." - Isaiah 41:10 (Message). "No weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged." - Isaiah 54:17 (Message). He was alert and looking up. Up to Christ Jesus.
Acts 28:26 (Message) says, "You're going to listen with your ears, but you won't hear a word; You're going to stare with your eyes, but you won't see a thing." Is this your perspective? Do you listen, but don't hear? Do you stare, but don't see? If so, then it's all wrong. Your perspective is not that of Jesus. Your mental picture of how things really are is distorted and very blurry.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (Message) gives us instructions on the correct perspective. "So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."
So, what exactly is your perspective?
To 'own' is 'to have or hold as property; to have power or mastery over; independently of assistance or control; to rely entirely on one's own resources.' To 'borrow' is 'to receive with the implied or expressed intention of returning the same or an equivalent; to appropriate for one's own use; lend; adopt; take on.'
Now, I don't know about you, but I have this 'thing' about borrowing anything from anyone, as this is a great responsibility. You are using something that belongs to someone else and you don't want to break or destroy it in any way. On the contrary, you want to return it in the same condition, or maybe better, than when you received it. This is a great commitment! So, if I 'own' whatever it is that I am responsible for, I don't have to answer to anyone if it happens to break while in my possession, right? Wrong! The Bible actually states that we, as humans, do not 'own' anything, or anyone! Not even ourselves! What?? What about my kids? Not even your kids. Read the story of Abraham in Genesis. This is an eye-opener in how we are to hold onto our most precious possession. Everything, I repeat, everything we have on this earth belongs to God. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." - Psalm 24:1. "To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it." - Deuteronomy 10:14. "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
So, yes, we are responsible for everything and everyone that God has blessed us with, but we don't 'own' any of it. I have a t-shirt that says, "When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose." In our humanity, at times, we feel that we lose...possessions and people, but in reality, we are only returning them to the One who gave them to us in the first place. Hopefully better than when we first received them. Through His love, mercy, and grace He has blessed us with all that we think we 'own.' What a great God we serve!
"Oh, Lord God, may we get into Your Word and learn just exactly who You are. May we learn how to surrender back to You all that You have blessed us with on this earth with praises and thanks...in the gains, and especially in the losses. Amen."
So, what is it that you own?
Whenever a life moment happens, stopping us in our tracks, we pray, focusing on the 'outcome,' the conclusion, result, or development. The one we desire. The one we are hoping for.
As Christians, we are to put our trust in the Lord with all our heart, leaning not on our own understanding, while committing our way to Him. We are to keep in mind that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and our ways are not God's ways. When we are afraid, we are to put our trust in Him and praise His name. That by losing our life to Him, we will actually find it.
A Christian's life, and especially the life stopping moments, belong to God. "We are not our own, we were bought at a price." = 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. A Christian's prayers should be in line with God's heart and will, therefore focused ono whatever outcome is provided by God, even, and especially, when the outcomes is not one we are looking for or want. Our motives must be in line with God's plan for our life, and since we don't always know God's plan for our life, our motives may be wrong. This is when, as stated above, we lose our life to Him, trust in His ways, while always giving Him praise. If we can do this, the 'outcome' to our prayers, the one that to us looks to be the opposite of what we prayed for, will be realized as part of God's plan. We can never doubt that He will give us the strength, power, and courage to get through it, whatever it happens to be.
No matter what the development, result, or 'outcome' you are praying for, the conclusion will always be God's. We just have to let Him be Him in our lives.
So, what outcomes are you looking for?
Our occupation, the business of our life, employment, or profession, usually comes with a learning time. Sometimes this can be very intense, taking years to accomplish. To be really good and confident that we're doing it the right way, a time of learning is required, and necessary. But our true ability in any occupation doesn't really come until we find ourselves thrust in the midst of whatever it is we have been trained to do. A doctor is not a doctor until he faces sickness. A fireman is not a fireman until he faces a fire. A seaman is not a seaman until he faces rough seas. This same analogy also holds true for our Christian walk with Jesus.
We can read the Bible, along with other books on the subject, go to church, fellowship with others, while enjoying the worship and the sermon. We can even experience touches from the Holy Spirit in our lives. However, our true ability to use what we have learned only comes when we find ourselves thrust into some type of adversity. Times we find ourselves up against a brick wall, stopped in our tracks, and maybe seeing no way out. These are the times that will bring to light what it is we have learned in our Christian walk.
The Word tells us to be strong and courageous, not afraid or discouraged, for He is with us wherever we go. That righteous people have many troubles, but the Lord will deliver them. That if we have God for us, then who or what could ever be against us. That He comforts us in our troubles so that we are able to comfort others. That we are hard pressed, but not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are struck down, but not destroyed. That His power rests on us and is made perfect in our weakness.
It is through adversity that we learn how to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, as we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. We learn to persevere under trial because, having stood the test, we will receive the crown of life that He has promised. We learn to be sober minded and alert to the ways of Satan who is only looking for whom he can devour. We learn to consider these times as pure joy, because they produce perseverance in us, making us mature and complete in our faith. We learn that after we have suffered a little while, He will Himself restore us and make us strong, firm, and steadfast. That greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!
So, what occupation are you being trained for?
To 'obey' is to follow the commands or guidance of; conform to; comply with; to behave obediently; adhere to; mind. To 'submit' is to subject or yield oneself to a condition, treatment, or operation as in the authority or will of another; to defer or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another; surrender; give in; relent. As we can see, there is a great difference between these two words.
We have human laws and we have God's laws. if human laws, by which we must live as a society, are made through the filter of God's laws, then these two sets of laws will agree. If they are not, they will highly disagree. We, as Christians, must be able to discern if and when this takes place, while remembering that it is God who establishes governing authorities, whether the laws they make are through His filter or not (Romans 13:1).
So, if God establishes all authority, why are there laws made that are directly against His laws? And how are we, as Christians, supposed to obey these laws? The making of laws that are against God reveals how deep is the depravity of man, how far removed we are from God. As to whether or not Christians should obey these laws, let's look at what the Apostles Paul and Peter have to say.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned for breaking the law and yet wrote, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established." - Romans 13:1. Peter, who was also imprisoned for breaking the law wrote, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority; whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people." - 1 Peter 2:13-15. Paul nor Peter, either one, used the word 'obey.' They both said 'submit' or 'be subject to.'
The laws that Paul and Peter broke, and were imprisoned for, were not God's laws, they were human laws. Human laws made by a government with absolutely no regard for the laws of God. This also took place in Daniel, Chapter 3 and 6 where arrests were made when decreed laws were not followed. "We must obey God rather than human beings!" - Acts 5:29. In obeying God's laws rather than those made by the authorities, they then became 'subject' to, and had to 'submit' themselves to, whatever punishment these authorities deemed appropriate.
So, why does God establish governing authorities that He knows will make laws for society to follow that are blatantly against His Word? Let me answer this with another question....
What would you do?
We've all used these three words at some time or another, and in various circumstances. The definitions I could find are 'Even if there are obstacles or difficulties; Something that is always true; In any condition; In any event; Without regard to what happens; Makes no difference; Will not have an effect on; Same thing regardless of options; Under all and any circumstances; Not changed or affected by any situation.'
Now, looking at these definitions, let's take a look at our spiritual life. The most important thing we are to do in our spiritual life is give glory and praise to God....No Matter What! The Word says to give God glory when we eat and drink. To let our light shine before others in good deeds, so they will give glory to God. We are to give thanks to Him, with our whole heart, and glorify His name. The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands, and so should we. We are to ascribe glory to the Lord and worship the splendor of His holiness. Can we do this....No Matter What? NO! We can't!
It is virtually impossible for us to do this in our own weak and frail humanity. The only way we can give praise and glory to God...no matter what...is through the presence of Jesus in our life. He is the source of all the strength we will ever need...no matter what. Even if we experience obstacles or difficulties, Jesus is true in any condition, in any event. With Him in our life, it makes no difference what our circumstances are. He gives us the power to praise and glorify our Father in heaven....No Matter What!
So, are you able to give God the praise...no matter what?
Nice. The definition is 'polite, kind, pleasing, agreeable, appropriate, fitting; socially acceptable.' Are you 'nice?' Are you polite and kind to people? Are you pleasing and agreeable? Do you fit in? Are you socially acceptable? This could probably get really ugly, couldn't it? In today's culture, we as Christians, definitely no longer 'fit in.' So, can we still be 'nice?' Was Jesus 'nice?' Since we are to be like Him, let's take a look.
Jesus was kind to people. He pleased them in that He brought the good news of the kingdom of God, and He healed all their sicknesses. Who would not be pleased with this? But was He always nice? NO! In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman came to Him asking for healing for her daughter. He ignored her. When she kept crying out to Him, He told her she was not one of those to whom He was sent. As she continued to beg, He called her a dog. Was this being nice? No! In John 4, Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman, calling her out for having several different husbands and currently living with a man who was not her husband. How dare He embarrass her like this! Was this nice? No! Why was Jesus not so nice to these two, and others in the Word? Because His main purpose was to save their souls. He loved them so much, He could not by any means be nice to them, sitting back and watching their soul go to hell. Did they recognize and accept His words as truth? Did they realize His love for them? Or did they take offense, becoming bitter and hateful?
Let's look at one more instance: In Matthew 23, He called those in charge hypocrites because they shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. He called them blind fools and said they were full of greed and self-indulgence. He called them whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but were full of dead bones and everything unclean on the inside. He called them snakes and a brood of vipers. Was He being nice? No! Why? Same reason as above. He loved them too much to sit back and allow them to destroy themselves. Did they recognize and accept the truth of His words? Did they realize His love for them? Or did they take offense, becoming bitter and hateful?
The Word says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In the instances above, Jesus was showing who He was by stating the truth. He is the Truth, therefore He must speak the truth. They crucified Him for it. Today, our culture is trying to crucify the truth once again. "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32. How can people know the truth that will set them free if it is not spoken? We, the church, the body of Christ on earth, must stand for, and speak, Truth. Do we care about others this much? Are we concerned about their souls?
Has Jesus ever called you out on something? Did you recognize and accept the truth of His words, realizing His love for you? Or did you take offense? What about others, not only your friends, but also your enemies? Are you loving them the same way Jesus loves you? Are you concerned about their souls?
Are you being nice?