Category Archives: These Things Series

These Things ~ Miracle ME!

The Greater Works

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” ~ John 14:12.

In our study of the produce and reasons for the “These Things” teachings of Christ, I found as I typed the last post a WOW thought that produced in me one final pondering on the subject. It came from the following thought quoted from the previous These Things Series post:

“As we said, life is hard. It can be hard some days simply to get out of the bed. The works we do are the greater works because we are not God. We are men and women of God, empowered by the Spirit, yes; and every good work we do and accomplish in that Spirit power is nothing short of a miracle. …”

That “Wow!” moment set my heart to realize that every good thing God accomplishes through us is a miracle that fulfills the promise of Christ found in the “greater works than these” we do in His name.

Now I don’t know about you, but I do not see “greater works” than those of Christ coming out of my life. So how is it true that all God accomplishes in me is a miracle that fulfills this promise of God? Here is what God is showing me as I ponder these things: NOTE the difference between Jesus and us.

Jesus

Jesus came into the world being One IN the flesh, but OF the Spirit. He came being IN the world, but OF the Kingdom of God. He came to a realm influenced by demonic wisdom, but He was OF godly wisdom and purpose. Jesus overcame the unnatural of His flesh man existence to live fully His natural estate of the godly as example to us. He did not have to overcome His true nature to be godly. God is His true nature.

Us

We came into the world being OF the flesh, living worldly purpose, too easily driven by demonic influence. It is a miracle of God when we fully realize and possess Him, walking in the new nature we have through Christ to overcoming our natural estate so that we can be people OF God, influenced by Him, being OF the Spirit, and OF His Kingdom, living lives OF godly purpose.

God’s work of deadening our natural flesh being is miraculous.

OF

That word courses through me as I type. John shares in John 17 the prayer of Jesus for His disciples, of which we are if we truly believe and follow Him. In His prayer, Jesus revealed this miraculous work of God in us.

“I have MANIFESTED Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not OF the world, even as I am not OF the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” ~ vs. 6-19.

Beloved, through Christ, as we live in the sanctifying power of that name, we are no longer of this world, the flesh or the demonic. We are in the world but not OF it. We are OF the Kingdom of God. We are in fleshly bodies, but we are OF the Spirit of God. While surrounded by demonic influences, through Christ we are OF the will, way and purpose OF God. In the name of Christ as representatives of God’s image and nature, WE ARE OF GOD, sanctified – set apart to Him and made complete as His image bearers through Christ.

Of: Expressing the relationship as part of a whole.

We are of the Kingdom of God, expressive of that Kingdom. We are of the Spirit of God, expressive of God, bearing forth His image. We are of the purpose of God, working His will and way in the earth. We are no longer of the flesh, the world, and the demonic influence. WE ARE OF GOD, made whole and complete in Him. The work God does through us is greater works because we are overcoming our natural state in the power He supplies, by His power in us, becoming wholly that which is unnatural to our life experience.

Jesus came as the God who was man. His natural estate helped His unnatural condition: He fully possessed who He was in the name of God. We are man, made into God’s image. Only as we realize who we now are in Christ can we fully overcome our natural state as man to be helped by the unnatural state we are now in through Christ, in that power of His Spirit at work in us. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20). As I find that place of the overcoming power of God at work in my reality, making this unnatural my daily norm, the greater works of God is accomplished; all that He is becomes real and alive in me; the possession of my true estate in Christ.

Last post for this series, in covering John 10’s teaching that we follow the voice of the Good Shepherd because the other voices are strange, I said, “Jesus still calls out and speaks to His Sheep today, and those who know His voice follow Him. They will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the stranger.” God’s voice is strange to the flesh, the world, and the demonic. We have to overcome the voices that we have known all our lives, so that those become strange and His becomes the voice well known.

Beloved, we struggle with our fleshly nature because we refuse to let that voice become strange to us. We struggle, too easily falling to the wisdom of the world because that voice is agreeable to our fleshly desires. We struggle, influenced by the demonic because we fail to realize and stand firm on the fact that we no longer belong to that purposed influence. We struggle because we fail to understand fully that we are no longer OF the fleshly nature, the world economy, or demonic purpose.

We are OF God, His Kingdom, and the Spirit that indwells us. Thus, we must…

COME OUT AND BE SANCTIFIED.

Colossians 3:1-2 in the Amplified advises us.

“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.”

Bigger GodI read a devotional called “S.O.A.P” today, titled “You Need A Higher View”, written by Rich Wilkerson. Based on this Colossians passage, He advises, “Too often, believers operate from a ‘Buried in Sin and Shame’ position rather than a ‘Raised Into Heavenly Places With Christ Jesus’ position. We have direct access to the Father through Jesus Christ, who is seated at God’s right hand in Heaven. That is where the Apostle Paul commands us to set our affection and attention. Elevate your viewpoint. Instead of ‘Looking Up’ from your problems, ‘Look Down’ on your problems with your ‘Problem Solver,’ JESUS.”

We are OF God, Beloved. Come up higher in Christ

“…Every day that we overcome the flesh, the world, and the demonic is because we possess the Spirit that possesses us and works this miracle of God in His overcoming power. Wow. That is awesome to my heart and inspires me to realize the miracle worked when I hear His voice and simply follow Him.” (see yesterday’s Ponderings)

~*~

Cliff Note: Tending roses after typing this, I reach down to smell one just opening up to the fullness of its beauty. As I smell its wonderful fragrance, God reminds me that the minute a rose comes into its beauty, it begins to die. It is in dying that its glorious fragrance springs forth.

Likewise, as we die to the old nature, the beauty of our new nature in Christ ignites. In death of the old, the birthing of the new brings forth the fragrance of God that is His miracle in us, fulfilling the word of “greater works” promised in Christ. The Spirit overcomes the natural we know in our flesh experience, birthing forth the image and fragrance of God in all His glory. Sanctified and made complete, we bear forth the greater works fruit and fragrance Jesus calls us to in His “These things” teachings.

Go forth into this new life, Beloved, and fill the air with His fragrance and glory.

These Things Revealed

Pulling it together

John 16:1-15

These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

Life is hard. Have you figured out that, too often, life is hard? When we seek to follow the Father and live the life He desires, there are a hundred different things that vie for our attention and seek to pull us from the path He designed us to walk. Therefore, Jesus spoke with purpose.

He spoke so that we may have peace in knowing Him, realizing His great love for us and growing to be His friend who walks with Him to accomplish His purpose. He spoke so we can possess the Kingdom purpose He has for us, bearing the fruit that works that purpose in the world around us, making this a better place to be and shining a light that draws others to join our journey on the straight and narrow path of God’s making.

Jesus spoke so that we may truly and fully believe, receiving all that He has for us.

Top of the list of His desire for us to possess is His indwelling Spirit, for He still has “many more things” to say to us today. Jesus still calls out and speaks to His Sheep today, and those who know His voice follow Him. They will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the stranger. God gives His Spirit to every believer, and He speaks clearly, telling us of God and His purpose and plan, so that we have all we need to walk the straight and narrow path of His eternal purpose for each individual of us. (John 10)

In our focal passage, the work of the Spirit that Jesus tells us will come to help us is this: that we may understand sin, righteousness and judgment.

The Spirit instructs our heart to know sin, wrong paths, all that goes against the ways of God. In addition, Jesus tells us that sin reveals lack of believing-faith in God, His word, His ways, and His promises. His Spirit is here to help our understanding so that we may have faith to believe.

The Spirit instructs our heart to know righteousness, right paths, all that accomplishes the will, way and purpose of God.

This work of the Spirit fulfills the promise of Christ that He revealed when He instructed us through John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

When we learn the voice of God that comes to us in the power of the Spirit, we accomplish the purpose of God who created us for good works. We do so knowing that “nothing shall be impossible for us who believe, for all things are possible with God and I can do all things through Christ, my Lord.”

As we said, life is hard. It can be hard some days simply to get out of the bed. The works we do are the greater works because we are not God. We who believe are men and women of God, empowered by the Spirit, yes; and every good work we do and accomplish in that Spirit power is nothing short of a miracle. Every day that we overcome the flesh, the world, and the demonic is because we possess the Spirit that possesses us and works this miracle of God’s overcoming power in us. Wow. That is awesome to my heart and inspires me to realize the miracle worked when I hear His voice and simply follow Him.

This faith to trust the Spirit to lead us to the will, way, and purpose of God, thus doing His work, accomplishes the great things of God in our day to day living. Representing Him in all we do, fills up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Colossians 1:24). The work of Christ in the earth continues in us as we become His lights in the world, glorifying Him in all we do – great and small, as good stewards of all He supplies. The Spirit helps us to realize that all we have in this life, all we go through whether good or difficult, all things are ours to possess and use for His Kingdom purpose: nothing wasted.

Lastly, Jesus tells us of the promised work of the Spirit in us so that we can know judgment, consequences, and potential outcomes.

This understanding of judgment He gives to us leads to good judgment for living. He gives understanding of His judgment in the power of the Spirit in order for us to know that there are two kingdoms at work in the earth and our actions and choices accomplish the purpose of one or the other.

As believers in God through Christ, the godly Kingdom is the one we seek to represent as we follow the dictates of the Spirit to fulfill the good works God created us to accomplish in such a time as this (Ephesians 2:10; Esther 4:14). The ungodly kingdom is the one dictated by the evil spirit of Satan, and its desire is to destroy the work of God in the earth. Thus, it is vital that we learn wisdom ~ the ability to have functional understanding of sin, righteousness and judgment that helps us to make right decisions so that we fulfill Kingdom purpose in all we choose to do.

In verse 25 of John 16, Jesus adds, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.”

We have the whole of scripture and the power of the Spirit so that we can understand the plain and simple truth of God and His eternal purpose. Jesus gives us the Spirit of God so that we can understand, believe, receive His truths, and walk the path He has for us to walk.

Beloved, we too often try to make this plain and simple truth harder than it is, seeking to find some magical ingredient that will make life here easy. The fact is that life here is hard because there are two kingdoms vying for our affections, and we have four sources of wisdom seeking to influence our decisions. The plain and simple is this: “Choose today whom you will serve”. Which spirit will you possess and follow? Which voice guides you? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

“…this we also pray for, that you be made complete. …rejoice, BE made complete, BE comforted, BE like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will BE with you” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:9-11.

~*~

I thought I was finished with this series, but the “Wow” moment is coursing through me with greater depth of understanding that we will cover in the next post of Ponderings. Thank you for your faithfulness as patrons of this blog spot.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace and More!

Other produce of the “These things” spoken by Christ:

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. …” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

In this series, we looked at the “these things” referenced by Christ, teachings given to us so that we may have perfect peace and confidence. In looking at the teachings of Christ in this message found in John 14-16, we found these ingredients to a life of perfect peace and confidence:

  1. True and abiding belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit: knowing who this Triune God is and the truth of His existence and work brings assurance that this world’s challenges to Life in Christ cannot destroy.
  2. Kingdom reality: knowing that we are here with a purpose as God’s representatives in the earth, being in the world but not of it, working to be His light that draws many to His Kingdom, fills us with purpose that is undaunted by life’s struggle.
  3. Fruitful living: As Kingdom representatives, we are to produce fruit in keeping with a true and abiding relationship with God and His Kingdom purpose that bears the image and glory of God in the earth, thus fulfilling our purpose and strengthening our resolve.
  4. Love: as Kingdom people of God, we are image bearers, His producing within us the character and nature that shows us to be His children. As such we are not only to know His love for us, but knowing that He loves because He is love and He cannot deny Himself, we are to love in kind, having love as an attribute from the core of our existence. Love is who we are. Therefore, love done well to His glory produces fruit that strengthens peace and confidence.
  5. Called Friend: As people of Kingdom purpose who bear the image of God, our relationship with Him grows ever stronger as we become more than slaves forced to obey. As friends of God in Christ, we choose relationship with Him, obeying out of faith in Him despite the challenges living in the world brings our way. That abiding relationship with God brings us from slave status, to Friend of God in Christ, a bondslave by choice of love’s friendship and desire to be in His service and under His protective care by choice.

All these things, alive and growing in us, bring us to hearts of perfect peace and confidence in God through Christ, empowered by the Spirit-bond we possess and live out into the world. In studying this out, I found other things that “these things” taught by God-Christ produce. Before we close out this series, let us look at the produce found in “these things”.

Bible001“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me” ~ John 16:1-3.

Jesus knows what it is to be outcast because of faith, belief, and its practice. Living in the world brings challenge that can lead to conflict. Being Kingdom people in a world of opposition against God and godly principles is difficult. Jesus instructs us that true understanding of the things spoken by God and becoming as He is so we are at our best as His representatives protects us from stumbling in a world of obstacles.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. …It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” ~ John 15:3; John 6:63.

Remembering these things spoken by Christ helps us to trust His cleansing power and to live the life He gives us in the power of the Spirit. When caught off guard in the world and found stumbling over some obstacle, our peace and confidence remains strong as we remember the things we know of God, the things that make us who we are as His Kingdom people. We are already clean because we trust Him and all He says of Himself and of us. All we need when stumbling comes is to let Him wash our injured and muddied feet by trusting His word to us.

“But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. …These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father” ~ John 16:4, 25.

Jesus purposed two things in all the things He taught us: to warn us of the things of this world and the flesh that lead to eventual destruction; and to tell us plainly of the Father so we have what we need to overcome evil and be His image bearers.

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” ~ John 14:25-26.

I lean heavily on this one in these days of my life, when memory of things spoken to me through God’s word is challenged by my weak ability to recall. Jesus speaks wisdom and instruction in abiding moments with Him and the Holy Spirit brings all to my remembrance when life’s stressors and health issues challenge my mind’s ability to retain His instruction. I trust God to help me recall His instruction, and He faithfully does so through this work of His Spirit in me. We will cover this one in greater detail in our last post for this series. For now, I want to end this post with the following final, awesome promise produced in us through “these things” taught by Christ.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. …Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” ~ John 15:11; 16:24.

Following “these things” taught us by Christ produces true and abiding joy in us. We too easily fall to looking for joy in our situations and circumstances, only to find disappointment. We expect joy to come through those we love, too often being let down in our expectations, thus being robbed of a false joy that is fleeting. However, when we get our joy from faithfulness to trust, believe in, rely on with confidence and practice “these things” taught by Christ, our joy remains with us because of Him fulfilling the promise found in “these things” that produce joy, peace and confidence.

Life circumstances and flawed people cannot rob of joy that abides in us through our thriving relationship with God as Kingdom people who are set to represent Him to those we love and accomplish His purpose in our circumstances. When our joy comes from our relationship with Him and our understanding of and commitment to Him as His ambassadors in this life, we will ask according to His heart desire and He will faithfully meet our desires with “Yes” and “Amen”, thus bringing us to fullness of joy found in unity with Him.

God speaks with purpose in mind, and that purpose produces good things in and through us as we remember His teachings and become as He is, representative of Him and His Kingdom in our here and now lives. Remember these things of God, beloved, and go forth to prosper as Royal Ambassadors of His Kingdom purpose.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 5

Called Friend ~ Deepening Relationship

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Hear these words of Jesus, beloved. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

What did the disciples have that made them friends instead of slaves? They possessed a vitally growing relationship with Christ. This reality of growing in relationship with God that makes us friends He shares His life with is ours to have and possess in Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through us. That reality begins with understanding this love that God has for us, a love that lays down His life on our behalf. That love is the perfect love that casts out all fear.

Think about your most trusted friend. What is it about your relationship with that friend that helps you know that wherever you go, whatever you do, that relationship will always be there? For me that ingredient that makes for true and lasting friendship is trust in the love they have for me and me for them.

walking-with-godI have three friends who moved off many years ago. These friends stay in touch through our marvelous technologies that span space and time to bring us closer together. I can be who I am with these friends and know they love me as I am, even when I am not my best self. We may not see each other often, but when we do, it is as if we never parted company. We may not always like what the other does, but we love each other anyway. And we know that when we struggle, there is always the other to reach out a loving hand to help us to come up higher in life as God’s chosen friend.

That is another thing I look for in a human friendship. I look for a growing relationship with God. I want people around me who know Him and are able to encourage my walk with Him. One reason for that is not only that these friends have a growing relationship with God that makes them ably equipped to counsel me from His perspective, but they possess His abiding presence, being available instruments to Him, allowing Him to reach out and touch me through their lives: and me to them. Just now I received a text from one of them that I do not hear from often, but she knows when she is in need, I am here for her, just as she is for me.

Beloved, that is what God wants with us. This desire for a relationship that is vitally growing and available, able to encourage and help to rise up to greater heights is not foreign to God. It is His image at work in us. God is love. Love’s most vital need is someone to give itself to and for; and its greatest desire is to find that love returned in kind.

When we have this growing reality at work in us, knowing God and being known by Him, mutually loving and giving self to bring the other higher, Him lifting us to higher ground as we lift Him to greater glory, shining ever brighter, we have friendship with God and a love that casts out fear.

Fear cannot reside where true love’s trust abides. God loves you. You can trust that even when you are in a pit of despair because of poor decisions that caused you to fall away for a time. He reaches out in love, desiring to grab your right hand and help you to higher ground. When we move away from Him, He is still there, waiting to hear from us andJesus 01 - water walk reach out His hand of love, help and companionship.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing means NOTHING! Not even the bad decisions we make in falling away from Him can remove His love from us. His sacrifice of love remains even in our darkest days. Though He hates where we are and what was done to put us in such a state of affairs, He still loves us and longs for our presence. So reach up and trust His love to grab you and help you be your best self to the glory of Him who loves you more than life itself.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another” ~ John 15:12-17.

Oh, beloved. What great peace it is that comes to the heart of the one who truly understands, receives, believes, trusts and grows strong in this friendship found in a deep and abiding love relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son in the power of the Spirit abiding within us. And we know this love abides in us as we come to desire His will over our own, laying down our lives by picking up His desire for us and making that our possession for a life of abundance with Him.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 4

Love’s Abiding

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer ~ yes, take courage; BE CONFIDENT, CERTAIN, UNDAUNTED! For I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

These past few years have been hard, wrought with one difficult situation after another. I am sure you know from experience that this world can be difficult to live in as one assault comes too quickly on the heels of the next. As we walked through our troubled waters, God used the time and experience to solidify in me a deep and abiding assurance of His love. It is this deepening understanding of my God that fulfilled this promise of God: “I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.”

Did we suffer loss in some of our troubles? Yes. Did that loss bring us to destructive harm, robbing us of hope in God and the ability to get up and press forward? No. Why can I say that? Galatians 1 begins with a greeting Paul often used that describes this peace I learned of, the peace we have when we fully trust God’s love for us that deprives the world of it power to harm us.

“Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and SOUL PEACE from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ Galatians 1:3, AMP.

As we face each new assault of trouble in this life with understanding of God’s love that is for us and not against us, a love that never allows anything to take us from His hand of care, we find a “soul peace” that is not shaken by rough seas. The soul is our mind (thoughts, beliefs, understanding), our will (decisive choice and sense of purpose), and our emotions. Our soul that makes us who we are as individuals, remains stable and secure, able to function despite rough waters in life, when we know and trust the love of God.

“God is love.” This is what His author tells us in 1 John 4:8. Love is not just an emotional high for God. It is not just something He does when He feels like it. It is who He is. Love flows from Him because it is His nature and He cannot deny Himself ~ He must be who He is: no guile, no façade. That adds deeper dimension to the fact that He calls us to love as He loves.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” ~ 1 John 4:7-8.

This call to love means that love has to indwell our very nature and flow from us out of who we are rather than from emotional highs. Our next abiding place that assures us of “perfect peace” is this deep understanding that God is love, He loves us despite flaws and failures, and His love will not allow ultimate harm to win when trouble comes; it will accomplish His purpose in us. That understanding equips us for a lifestyle love that helps us to cope with and face life issues with a love flowing to us and through us that overcomes the darkest night.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” ~ John 15:9-10.

Abiding love, living constantly and consistently in this understanding of God as Love, having His love living and active in us equips us to abide in the love Jesus calls us to possess. It is the love and loyalty of a child to a respectable parent or of a soldier to an honorable General and Chief. No matter the trouble faced, when we know God’s love for us and have love for Him, we easily and readily follow His instruction.

Love always has a good, right, and true purpose in the things it allows. Though the things God allows to touch our lives may be difficult, they possess great worth as each challenge provides us with opportunity for growth. Trouble provides a chance to experience God and grow in greater depth in understanding His nature, how He thinks and functions. Through such challenge, God provides doors of divinely appointed ministry to help others know His love that flows through His people as He grows us to possess the image of God, having His nature living and active in us.

Just as Jesus came to do the will of the Father, knowing that hard times would come as allowed by God for Christ’s fulfillment of His purpose, so we must realize that same love brings doors of opportunity for us to fulfill the purpose God planned for our lives. No trouble comes to us without the love of God toward us purposing good to come out of that trouble. It is through loving obedience to follow God’s will in God’s way that we come to the other side of trouble with overcoming power and success.

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” ~ John 15:21.

Spirit-fruit2Love’s abiding assures our ability to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. With increased understanding of God as Love, I no longer question God’s love for me when trouble comes, and I am more deliberate in my desire to emulate that love to others. I realize more readily God’s good purpose granting me opportunity to make a difference in this life, thus glorifying Him through cooperation that accomplishes the good He intends. Love’s abiding produces peace that prevails within my soul, helping me to see the path ahead and choose the good God desires for a life that honors Him and that reveals His overcoming power in me. This is His desire for each of us who call on His name with faith and hope for eternity with Him. Enter love’s abiding and find soul peace to help in times of trouble.

(Note: Reading Matthew 5:1-12, especially considering the meaning of the word “blessed” given in the Amplified version of these verses, I see Love’s abiding working to produce the good in each situation addressed. I believe this is the blessing that comes to those who know and trust this loving nature of God. Our lives will bear the fruit of those so blessed despite the trouble faced.)

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 3

Fruitful Abiding

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer ~ yes, take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

In our busy couple of weeks, we saw friends come in for a visit, followed by traveling on a rush weekend trip to see family. Busy lives: all revealing issues difficult to deal with, threatening to rob of peace. Even preparing for company and to travel became a threat against peace. BUT GOD! He used the situations faced to reveal Himself as He responded faithfully to each need, accomplishing great things in and through us and on our behalf.

In our time with friends and family, the opportunity revealed the hand of God at work: bringing healing to some past issues; providing opportunity to bear fruit into the lives of those we love and care for as we ministered His comfort into current situations. We overcame all the threat against our ability to live in that place of perfect peace provided by God by believing in Him and walking with Kingdom perspective. Through that we were able to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness into each situation.

That is the next thing taught by Jesus that helps us abide in the place of His peace:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” ~ John 15:1-8.

Spirit-fruit-bOur abiding in Him is the ingredient necessary for our bearing fruit for His Kingdom. Here I just noticed that Jesus referred the disciples back to their feet washing session. It is constantly letting the Lord our Savior wash our feet that secures us as a fruitful branch on His vine. When we spend time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak into our lives and train us up in righteousness, rebirthing in us the image of God He intended we possess, we live in vital connection with God. That connection feeds us and grows us to be strong fruit-bearing branches.

In Matthew 12, Jesus makes an important point that tells us why fruit bearing is important:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit” ~ verse 33.

The fruit we bear into life, whether good or bad, godly or worldly, reveals the tree from which we receive our nourishment. James speaks of this as he talks about our wisdom for life. Our wisdom for decision-making and action-taking either comes from our fleshly nature, worldly philosophy, demonic influences, or God and His truth. Wisdom from the first three sources mentioned produce bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogance, falsehood, disorder, etc.: producing every kind of evil. Wisdom that is from God produces purity, peacefulness, gentleness, ability to yield that makes one reasonable, being merciful and able to bear good fruits which are unwavering and without hypocrisy. Then James adds:

“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” ~ James 3:13-18.

When we see our ability to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness, thus producing godliness into our daily lives, we have peace of knowing that we abide in the true vine of God’s supply.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 2

Kingdom Perspective

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

Yesterday we saw that the first “thing” Jesus spoke of that empowers His gift of perfect peace and confidence to work in our lives is our trust in the reality, personality, and work of God the Father and Jesus the Christ. Our Triune God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself by failing to be who He is. We can have peace in knowing God and trusting His faithfulness.

The second thing I see follows and is attached to the first. That key to peace is our Kingdom or Eternal Perspective.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” ~ John 14:1-3.

075This is not our home, People of the Living God. If we are His, He has a Kingdom in which we will dwell with Him in Eternity, and to which we already belong. The circumstances in which we find ourselves are training ground. Some of you will say, “Again with the continuum!”, but it is a truth worth repeating. We cannot truly know with appreciation love, hope, faith, truth, etc., until we have experienced hate, despair, doubt, lie, etc. The only way to do that is to dwell in places that contrast God, who is love, the source of hope, our object of faith, because He is truth and truthful, etc. Therefore, we are in the world for a purpose: to learn that we are not of the world. Only as we enter into and have this hope of the eternal purpose can we face today’s trouble with hope’s peace.

In addition, Beloved, as I have told you before, now I tell you again: this eternity is not just something we look forward to entering when our life on earth is finished. Otherwise, why leave us to life’s difficulties? If there is no eternal purpose for leaving us in this life, why give opportunity for us to walk the continuum of peace vs. turmoil? God would just take us home where Perfect Peace resides. If we could fully know His Peace without understanding of its opposition, God would remove us from this place as soon as the “I do” was done.

The eternity we look forward to truly begins for each of us the instant we say, “I do” to Jesus, the Bridegroom. In that 076breath, we become the Bride, members of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom: day one of our journey to eternal destiny. As we go through life here, learning to discern the godly end of the continuums of life, we discover who we are in Christ. Taking on our role as Ambassador of the eternal Kingdom of God, being in the world but not of it, we live His Kingdom reality into the earth by living at the godly end of the continuums of life, being of His Kingdom while not in it.

I hear of people, thrown in prison for their faith, who have peace in that season of hardship because they realize God has Kingdom business for them to do while there. Trusting God, they weather that storm in the Eye of His presence. The eternal perspective of being of God’s Kingdom, part of His Royal Court, while being His ambassador in the place He sets them, helps them face their time in prison with a perspective that brings peace found in purpose.

We may not all wind up in prison, but we all face the ungodly end of life’s continuums every day. Trouble comes to tempt us to despair, hate, unforgiveness, self-preservation, etc. Tucking self into one’s understanding of God and His Kingdom purpose, we find peace to persevere with faith and hope. That perseverance leads us to the godly responses that produce Kingdom fruit into the earth. Our fruitful lives then bear a testimony in the world that highlights the Kingdom of God. Others, seeing the product of His eternal purpose in us, receive the testimony of our lives in Christ and join us on the journey. This is the Kingdom perspective that produces peace from God that is unhindered by life’s trouble.

Beloved, if you are in a hard place in life, realize that God allowed it for a Kingdom purpose. God never takes us to places where His grace cannot keep us, because He always takes us where His purpose has need of us as His Royal Ambassador. We are always either on training ground, and / or in fields, white for harvest. He is either working to grow us on some continuum meant to help us understand the godly, and / or He desires to use us to help others on their journey. Wherever you find yourself today: wherever tomorrow leads you, take hope and enter into His peace. We can be in any hardship and produce fruit in keeping with righteousness when we have that perfect peace empowered by Kingdom purpose.

Things Leading to Perfect Peace ~ Part 1

Believe in God

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer ~ yes, take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world: depriving it of power to harm you, having conquered it for you.” ~ John 16:33, AMP.

All of us want it: that perfect peace that is untroubled by tribulation and trials, distress and frustration. However, we too often think that kind of peace means that trouble will never touch our lives. With such understanding of what makes for peace, when impacted by difficulty, we lose any hope of peace in this life.

Jesus warns that trouble will come to all because we live in a world dictated by evil. Jesus, also, promises a peace that exists in the midst of trouble: a perfect peace. This peace brings with it a confidence despite hardship that reveals itself in good cheer, courage, and assurance, undaunted by life’s challenges. Jesus promises that this peace and confidence is His gift to us.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” ~ John 14:27.

So why then does every new surge of trouble tend to shake even the strongest in faith? Could it be that we do not know how to unwrap and possess this gift of God’s grace? Even this promise comes with warning that there will be things in life that tempt us to hearts of trembling fear. What is needful for us to possess this gift of peace?

Looking again at today’s thought from John, the words that stand out to me as something we need to understand if we are to enter into this perfect peace and confidence is the “these things” Jesus references. What are “these things” He taught of that make for perfect peace and confidence? To find “these”, we must begin with John 14:1.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” ~ John 14:1.

To enter into this perfect peace and confidence God speaks of, we must first believe in God. Failing to trust God, every trouble that hits our heart will knock us off our proverbial feet. Believing that God exists and that He is all that His word teaches us about Him is vital to our peace and confidence. Without this faith, trouble becomes a god, able to pull us every-which-way but loose. Trusting God removes the power trouble possesses to control us.

The same is true of our belief in Christ. Failing to have trusting faith that fully believes that Jesus is the Christ and that His sacrifice fully pays the price of our salvation, every difficulty that shakes us up, causing us to stumble, will lead to our downfall as loss of hope destroys perseverance.

CrossDaily05When a new surge of trouble hits our lives, failing to enter into assurance of what I know of God, I can beat myself up like none other. Whether the trouble comes to me from my own choices, or through the choices of another, I can find many things I feel I did that I shouldn’t have; or things I should have done, but failed in, thus, contributing to the situation. Even knowing that I sought God fervently and followed Him step-by-step in a situation, when trouble comes despite every effort to do right, out comes my law enforcement baton. Failing to believe that God is God ~ Sovereign, All-knowing and Omnipotent, having purpose in allowing a situation to touch our lives, I take the weight of trouble’s hardship on my shoulders. Failing to believe that Jesus bore all at Calvary and carried it to the pit for all time, I too quickly lug around the weight of things not mine to bear, walking in a spirit of condemnation.

It is only when I rest in God’s sovereignty, trusting that He has a plan and purpose, that I find His peace that equips me to walk through troubled times with stable spirit and mind. Only then am I able to hear and follow His wise counsel that enables me to know that overcoming power Christ provided us for life more abundant and full. Some troubling circumstances pass by quickly. Others remain for long periods. My growing trust to believe God exists and that He is sovereign still today, trusting He has difficult issues under control as He works His eternal purpose and plan, helps me to function well in life despite circumstance.

Beloved, when trouble hits, choose to believe in God. Hear Him say, “I’ve got this.” God is sovereign Lord. We can trust that He has a plan and purpose. Through Jesus, the Savior, we enter in to His perfect peace and confident hope by faith that trusts in God.