Tag Archives: Growth

LOVE or Love

“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (John 21:15-17 NASB)

We don’t see it with our all encompassing word, love, but in the Greek, 2 different words are used in this passage: agapao and phileo.

Most know this, but for those who don’t, agapao is God’s kind of deep, abiding love. Like the Father’s, it flows from who we are as empowered by Him and lands on all, whether love for God or man. It is not gifted by merit of the recipient, but flows freely because of who we are in Christ, thus it loves enemy as well as friend.

Jesus, in verse 15 and 16 uses agapao. The amplified version defines this love as being “with reasoning, INTENTIONAL, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father.” Thus, this love functions solely out of devotion to God who imparts His nature to us, then serving Him out of love as a bondservant, we love others in like fashion.

Throughout this passage, Peter uses “phileo”, which is the affectionate care one has for a good friend. Problem is that this love is too readily subject to the merit system, and does not extend to anyone that is not considered a friend. This love is too easily flesh led and dictated.

Again, the AMPC version defines phileo as “deep, INSTINCTIVE, personal affection, as for a close friend.” Jesus is telling Peter, “ If you agapao me, feed my sheep (“out of that love,” I believe is implied).” But Peter can’t comprehend an Agape’ type love: not yet, anyway. So Jesus, in verse 17, brings it down to Peter’s level, asking, “Do you phileo Me?”

This tells me that Jesus, who agapaos us, loves us enough to accept the love we give. But what joy it is to Him and what benefit to us and others, when, in the power and provision of the Spirit, we possess agapao. How much easier it is to serve God and man when this God-love flows to and through us like a river of life.

Father, empower our love today, making us to be love just as You are love. In Jesus’ mighty name and authority we pray, amen.

John 21:15-17 AMPC

Christ Lives in US

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Colossians 3:10-11 NLT – http://bible.com/116/col.3.10-11.nlt)

Paul is talking to those true believers, who have entered into the truth of Christ, recognizing their death to flesh, world, and the demonic, and fully entering new life to God through Christ, in the power and equipping of The Holy Spirit of God.

In Christ, we have died to sin, so that we may live to life eternal. Our full calling and work is to put off the old self and put on the new as a true example that rightly represents Him and His Kingdom interests. Like dawning a fresh suit of clothing, we are to put on Christlikeness as a cloak. It requires a complete change in our way of thinking, speaking, being, and doing, taking up God’s ways as people after His heart.

“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. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. …now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. ….” (Colossians 3:1-17 AMPC)

Inhale Life

“The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NASB)

“For the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

The Word of God is truth that is described as a double edged sword. It is said to separate joint and bone from marrow.

Bone is a stabilizing foundation. It holds the body together and aides one to stand and sit, their joints allow ease of movement; but bone is also a type of dead, petrified material. The marrow, which is housed inside the tube of hollow bones, is the source of blood cells that enable us to utilize oxygen and other nutrients, thus giving us life. Out of death comes life!

The Sword of the Word separates or reveals in us that which brings, gives, and aides life, from that which is or produces death. That process, Beloved, often hurts, because it requires us to die to our mortal self, so we can live eternally in Him. God’s Word works God’s good in us by increasing, stabilizing, and vitalizing Life in us.

The Word of God is His Breath of Life to our mortal souls. Inhale often

A Focus On Light: Let There Be Light

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. GOD SAW THAT THE LIGHT WAS GOOD; and GOD SEPARATED THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS.” (Genesis 1:1-4 NASB)

The physical creation of all that we know begins with God, The Triune One Who is Light, creating light in the physical realm. He sees light as good, knowing that light allows visual acuity. We can see in the light better than in the night.

The next thing God did after creating light and pronouncing it to be good, was to make a CLEAR DISTINCTION between light and dark.

All through scripture we find things in creation and in life that are a picture of God and His ways, set to aid our understanding of Him. As we study “Light” this Genesis Scripture is a powerful representation of today’s truth: God makes a clear distinction between Light and dark.

There is NO GRAY between black and white. It’s either true, or it’s a lie.

There are continuums all through scripture that define this separation. For example, we know, having seen thus far in this series, that God is light and His light has no relationship or harmony with dark. God is the Father of Truth _______ lies are fathered by Satan. God is good _______ evil is Satan. God is Love _______ hate is Satan. I’m sure you can think of others. We each fall somewhere on these continuums in our practice of life. The goal and desire of God for our lives, is for all to come to repentance (drawing into Light) _______ perishing (falling to eternal darkness) not.

Beloved, The closer to God we walk, the more pure the light we possess and walk out into life. Knowledge of God’s true Light is vital, for the warning of Scripture is that Satan is so good at lying, that he can fool even the Christian elect with his false light (Matthew 24:24 NASB; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 NASB).

The greatest desire of false light is to put a veil of hindrance between us and true salvation found only in Christ. Jesus alone is the way, the Truth, and the life. The flesh of man always asks, “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” Our pride and arrogance makes it hard for us to accept that we can do nothing worthy of the debt we owe. Thus God provided the propitiation (full payment) through Christ. The only thing we can and must do is to receive His gracious gift through repentance (acknowledging our need of Him, aligning self with His estimations), denying our own arrogance, thus, receiving His salvation. In so doing, we acknowledge our need of Him, bowing down to His Lordship as The true Christ, thus choosing to walk with Him into the Light. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6 NASB)

Jesus paid it all and invites us to journey with Him to the Light-end of every continuum we travel. He makes our every need of Him clear, aligning us with His Light.

“But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Ephesians 5:13 NASB)

Also see: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NASB; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 NASB.

God’s WORD: Empowered to Save Souls

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus came to give us Life: Life, more abundant and full. He gave His life to deliver us from sin’s death.

Jesus also came as the Living Word, sent by God to correct the false understanding plaguing His people. Father and Son left for us the living, life giving Word, compiled and presented to us in the form of our Holy Bible, as written and inspired by God in the power of the Spirit.

As I read this scripture in James today, I realize anew that, when we surrender to Jesus as Lord, Jesus saves us from eternal death – separation from God – and gives us eternal Life, granting us the Spirit of God as our Teacher and as a seal of our union with God. All that God IS, is with us, from that instant to forevermore, never to be separated again from Him who promises to never leave us.

Jesus saves fully and completely. Yet this Word we consider today tells us that God’s Word, left for us, prepared to assist us in our search of the greater depths of God, is EMPOWERED to SAVE our SOULS.

Paul tells us that our fleshly, little-s spirit wars against the Spirit of God, bringing a struggle in our flesh, the purpose of which is to hinder our progress in maturing as a Christ follower and image bearer of God (I.e., Romans 6-8). Our flesh still wants to rule us and fights to control us, making us a slave to our flesh. The spirit of man does not want to give up the false freedom it believes real and true.

When we seek the Teacher to grant us understanding and ability to receive the Truth found in God’s Word, the Spirit empowers that Word to heal our soul. The soul of man (as in humankind) is his fleshly mind, will, and emotions. The fleshly soul is seen in us as the mind of man with it’s earthbound thoughts; the will of man with it’s self-focused desires; and the emotional state of man, unchecked and unleashed to possess the man and rule the day.

When the Spirit increases our understanding of the Word and Truth of God, empowering that Word to save our soul, we find our mind renewed, as God brings to life in us the mind of Christ, dictated by the Truth of God, healing us through His right thoughts within us. His Word reveals the deception of our hearts that dictate our will, our desires in life, and brings healing through aligning our desires and motives with the Fathers. The healing of our mind and will empowers us to possess His Healing Word in us to such a degree that we can now rule and control our emotions. God’s Word often empowers our mind and will to discern the emotional state we are in and align it with the Father’s emotional stability.

Jesus possessed and controlled His body and soul because He IS the Living Word of God. That power for healing the soul of man that the Word of God possesses was in Jesus to the point that The Word IS His WHO. He possessed the Word, lived the Word, and portrayed the very Word of God.

Beloved, we are to do the same. We are to seek the healing power of God’s Word so that it INDWELLS us and makes us the very image of The Father in Christlikeness. Without The Word of God, Living actively and effectively in us, we will continue to struggle as our fleshly spirit fights against the Holy.

Thus we see the reason it is vital for us to feast ourselves on His Word every day, even throughout the day, meditating on its application to our daily living. We must seek to devour it and pick every kernel of truth from it. Beloved, The Word is like the Manna of God, renewed every morning. Only God can give it, and we will never deplete the nourishment found there on this side of Glory. There is always a new, deeper kernel of Truth there for us who truly seek Him with all we are.

May you be healed today, Beloved, and find The Word fully alive and well in your very soul.

A Transforming Trip Through 2 Timothy – Part 5

As we seek the transforming power our Father desires for us, we began where all healing begins, by seeking a right relationship with God, making sure we walk, live, and breathe with a clear conscience. While doing that, we must do a faith check, making certain we are walking in Christ with sincere faith. Third is our need to realize our part in kindling afresh the gift God placed in us for His purpose and glory. With that, we must realize, receive, possess, and fully live out the grace of God in us. Next we must understand the Word of God and know how to apply it’s truths to our daily life.

“Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7 NASB

When we first begin to grow, we learn a lot through the teaching of others. But for every child of God, there comes a time when He expects us to grow in our ability to learn from and through the Spirit of God in us.

The Spirit, in all His fullness, is given to each individual in Christ. The full work of the Spirit lives and breathes in us: from convincing us of right vs. wrong, to comforting, teaching, and empowering us, the Spirit does His work. And this work of the Spirit thrives in the soil of a surrendered heart that seeks God, with a whole heart that is pliable, and ready to grow in Christ.

This truth is vital in a world where false teachers and false teaching is its destiny. We must be like the men of Berea, who did not just receive the word spoken to them, but they searched out the scripture for themselves, confirming the message before receiving it as truth (Acts 17:10-12).

If we truly desire the transforming power of God in our lives, we must be people of the Word of God, able to receive the teaching of the Spirit and discern truth for ourselves. And we must pray the word for those we desire to see transformed.

A Transforming Trip Through 2 Timothy – Part 2

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you….” 2 Timothy 1:5 NASB

Today God calls us to be mindful of our SINCERE faith. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11), but do we realize the need of sincerity of faith?

Beloved, we can’t just say, “I believe” and that be good enough when there is no truth to it or when belief is aimed at the wrong target. God desires truth with Him, and that requires truth with self, for without truth with self, their can be no true repentance.

Jesus honored the one who said, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). The man realized he had a degree of sincere faith to believe, but it was shaky and insufficient with the doubt that floated around inside, hindering full trust to believe. Like him, it is better for us to be honest with God and open to His transforming help, than to lie to self trying to make ourselves believe when true trust in Him is missing. Note here that faith, belief, and trust are intertwined. True, sincere faith, believes God and trusts His will.

Consider the areas of your own life that desperately need the transforming power of God to work there. Consider your faith in God for that area of concern. Is your faith sincere, being focused on His ability to do what is needed, or is your faith focused on the need of faith in getting God to do what you want? Is your faith merely a mustard seed that hasn’t been planted yet, much less sprout to grow? A small amount of faith that trusts God’s faithfulness and knows He can is better than great faith in ones need of faith.

I pray what I’m trying to say makes sense to you, Beloved, because this is important. Faith focuses fully on God. It believes God can and trusts His will for us, knowing He will do what is best for all concerned. Small faith of this kind is a seed that can grow, and God loves growing it. Being truthful with self and God opens us up for His work to empower our faith, increasing faith to us, while cleansing us of any doubt.

Faith that is misplaced or that is falsely motivated, focusing on self’s ability to have faith instead of on God’s faithfulness, is NO FAITH AT ALL. Test your faith, Beloved, and pray for self and for the faith of those for whom you seek God’s transforming power.

Protection in the Night

The long night: it’s hard for me to see myself as being in a Long Night. I’ve been in a night of true darkness, but in this one, though I know the darkness threatening to overwhelm me, the Light is very near and dear. At the same time, I know of little more difficult than the threat to the life of a mate, except maybe the loss of a child. And being in a place to trust God while not knowing which way His healing will take gets long and can bring a deep weariness we don’t fully know how to handle. So God leads my heart in prayer today through song.

Today, as I cried out to God, needing His clear touch, He led me to Jericho my town while listening to my favorite worship playlist. Hitting the mix option, each song came in perfect order to minister to my heart and form my prayer in this night-watch. Now I thought God was changing the preplanned focus for today, but He isn’t.

Beloved, in the Dark Night Season, when we struggle to find the light God illumines all around that darkness, that is when we are most vulnerable to the lies and misdirection of the enemy that hides out in dark, waterless places. We can believe we are useless to God here. We can beat ourselves up for every flaw our deceived heart points to. We can blame self for every evil we see in our sphere of influence. We can forget that God is with us. Such struggles as these and more can make the dark, darker still. Today we pray for those in dark places to know the truth and be protected from the false.

Songs to pray through:

Still, by Hillary Scott

Glow in the Dark, by Jason Gray

Hope in Front of Me, by Danny Gokey

Scripture in context: 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:1-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Delight: the Secret Pathway of Perfecting Grace

“Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord…. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4 AMPC

To delight is to take great pleasure or joy in something. God wants to be our greatest delight. That’s hard to do if we fail to realize and experience Him in our day by day, moment by moment. Thus, I believe verse 3 is vital to our ability to delight in God to any degree of His desire for our delight; and verse 3 is best expressed in the AMPC Bible’s defining parameters for Trust being to lean on, rely on, and be confident in Him who is our delight.

When we truly trust in the Lord it is easier to know Him in our day. Trusting in Him as He desires means we LEAN on Him as our greatest support for all challenges faced in life, beginning with each breath we breathe. We RELY on Him, not only for supply of every resource and energy need, but for the very timing of His provision, knowing that He will increase perseverance to us as we await His provision with hopes assurance. And that perseverance flows out of our CONFIDENCE in Him, knowing that He will not fail us, but as we patiently wait with trust in Him, He often does above and beyond our ability to desire, or even to discern the need. In times of waiting, He is working a growth in us that increases our discernment of Him and His ways, so faith grows stronger and relationship more sure.

This growing, vital relationship of delight works completion in us. We were made for this vital, love relationship with God and we are incomplete apart from Him. Not only that, but scripture teaches that God’s Power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMPC). That does not mean that God is somehow weakened without us. I believe that it means our God has chosen us for vital union: that He desires to delight in us as we delight in Him, being made complete together. He chooses that our relationship add strength to both He and each individual one of us as our union becomes all He planned from the concept of time.

I see God’s Power being perfected in us to be like flexing muscles. God’s Power is perfect because He is perfect in Himself. But power that sets doing nothing is useless. The strength of His Power defines and fulfills itself when in use. So as we delight in Him above all else, fully choosing to act on our great need of Him, trusting in, leaning on, relying on, and being confident in Him, our need completes His provision as He completes us, thus accomplishing perfection in the actualization of His eternal plan for a relationship with us, His people.

When we feel like there is something missing, Love, and the desires of our heart go unsatisfied, the first place we must look is to check the source of our greatest delight. Delight in God trusts Him with a fervent surrender to our need of Him that leads to perfection.

Mark of Discipleship: Word Symbiosis

The original language word, translated continue, remain, abide, is a symbiotic word meaning to live in/with it while it lives in/with you.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The Word is living and active because of God’s Spirit in us that enlivens our desire for God and empowers our comprehension of His ways. The Word given is our path to communication with God, and it’s His way of instructing us in the way we should go in serving His purpose for our days.

The Spirit draws the true disciple to desire God’s Word and seek out communion with Him. The more His Word is in us, the more prepared we are with wisdom to direct our steps through life as honors and glorifies God. Desire in us to honor and glorify God makes time in His Word a joy we run to every day – and often throughout the day.

If there is no desire for God’s Word, then truly we need to question our claim to discipleship.

Surrendered Faith

People say we are all made in the image of God. That was true in the beginning, but then came sin that distorted the image. From Adam on, all are born with this birth defect that is only healed in Christ.

I wish I could learn everything with ease and readily cooperate with God’s Spirit as He works to make in me that image made new through Christ. I must admit that some days are a struggle when I fail to remember the old me is dead, and live in the new creature Christ quickened in me. One thing I have noticed, in hard times that come, God’s presence in it makes the truth of who He is most evident to me. In those times, I learn of Him, and with greater surrender to the seed He is growing in me, desiring to be a faithful image bearer in Christ, more of me looks more like Him day by day.

As He changes me, I find greater ease in responding as He desires to the challenges found on the path of life. Never has that been more true than now, as I watch my dear husband fight a cancer that is out for his life. The peace I have in this season has me rested in my God who instructed me to trust His Word of promise:

Acts 17:24-26 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”

This cancer is not in control. God is. He gives life and breath and all things to us, having determined our appointed times, setting in place the boundaries of our habitation. Nothing can move the boundaries set by God one second before the time appointed by Him, except our failure to trust and follow Him. Sin kills.

Our only care is to live each day, trusting in God, and making the most of the life and breath and all things He so graciously gives, while surrendering to His healing of our birth defect, making us to bear His image more clearly each day. I am grateful for the good and the hard, where God reveals Himself; and for Jesus, who paid the price of sin so I can be healed; and for His Spirit that heals the Image in me. Surrendered faith in God quickens for life more abundant and full.

FREEDOM! For ages 13 and up.

Hello! Over the past few years I have developed the habit of writing a birthday letter for my grandchildren, encouraging them to be, and to be all God wants them to be. Since I also have several readers who are young, I like to share some with them, to encourage them. But even the mature in Christ can use a reminder of these things, to check ourselves and realize where we are in life, so 13 and up, read on; and be encouraged.

~*~

Thirteen! Wow. It is hard to believe that you are entering the glorious teen years. So much growth, freedom, and fun to be had if you face these years with realization of the power you have going for you. Here is the power I want you to possess as you head toward being an adult.

Growth – this is the beginning of turning the corner from “kid” to “adult”. You are not an adult yet, you still have much to learn; and you need to trust and seek God for it and you need to trust your parents to have your best interests at heart as they nurture you through this time.

But this is the time when you need to begin to realize and discover just who and what you want to be when you grow up, and I am not just talking occupation. Yes, it is important for you to more fully discover your likes and dislikes, talents, abilities and giftedness, so you can discover the areas of the workforce that you are interested in pursuing. But I am talking about what kind of person do you want to be? How do you want others to see you?

Do you want to be known as a person of integrity? Grow in the knowledge of what truth and righteousness really are. Today’s world would tell you that there is no real truth and no right or wrong; that truth and righteousness is dependent on each person’s viewpoint. So if you make someone mad, they can rightly hurt you according to their truth in the moment.

That seems a harsh and silly example, but you would be surprised at the number of people who think that way. People are at such a point in our time because they deny God and His ways as being a reality. To know truth, live righteously and be a person of integrity, grow in the knowledge of God and His ways, and you will succeed.

Spirit-fruit2You need to begin now to give real focus to discovering the attributes you want to possess, learn what each requires, and begin to make those your own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, mercy, compassion, trustworthiness, truthfulness, etc. I challenge you to choose one attribute to work on each month, learn what God has to say about it, talk to others you see that trait in, and begin to possess these for yourself.

You may have to revisit a desired attribute many times throughout your life to check yourself and adjust to repossess lost ground, but if you will develop this habit of growth, you will become all you want to be. So, who are you, and who do you want to be? This is your main goal for life during your teen years, to become the adult you really want to be.

Freedom – there is greater freedom to be had as you progress through your teen years, which will make you feel powerful, and there is a power to express in possessing and maintaining this freedom. With greater freedom there is greater responsibility if you want to maintain your right to be free.

Example: if you want the freedom of going places with friends, prove yourself to be a responsible person who can be trusted to remain the person you want to be while out with others who will try to sway you to be what they want. One way to make this easy on yourself is to choose friendships with people who want the same things you want as a person. Another person who wants to be known as a person of integrity will not tempt you to lie to your parents so that you can do something you know they will not approve of, nor will you tempt them to be something you, yourself, do not want to be.

Freedom is not free! It takes work and commitment and knowing when to take a stand for what is right so you can maintain the freedom you have. Power over yourself, your desires, and your situations is required for true freedom to be yours.

Fun – if you begin today to develop as a person: becoming the person you want to truly be when you grow up, discovering good likes and talents, abilities, and your giftedness from God; and if you will live as a person who appreciates and understands true freedom is worth taking a stand to maintain, you will find fun in life that is worth having.

Looking for fun that is worth having and that you don’t have to hide from your parents will lead to a life worth living. You will not be easily snared WALK-WITH-GODby the evils of life: drugs, alcohol, sexual sin, etc. But you will find yourself a leader among your peers, helping them to desire to be better people, living in freedom, and having fun worth their time and energy.

All these things make for a life worth living that honors our God who is worthy of serving by being His light in the earth. Making these things your own personal journey in life will protect your relationship with God, protecting you from being drawn away from Him to things that rob you of the joy of knowing Him and His presence with you.

If you ever do walk away from these things I am giving you today, all you have to do is begin anew to practice this power you have. Possess the person you want to be, walk in the freedom that is free indeed, not being dictated by anything or anyone who would lead you away from who you are and want to be, and have a life of fun that is worth having.

Grandpa and I love you dearly and you are constant in our prayers. We desire the best for you, and that best is always God and His ways. Look to Him to direct you and you will find the best you can be in Him, with freedom that is true and eternal, living a fun life that the world cannot understand but longs to possess. It is all yours to possess. Go get it!

Love you dearly and daily,

Meeme and Grandpa

Rejoicing Comes in the Fellowship of His Sufferings: Part 5

Delightful Obedience

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).

Jesus came to do the Father’s will. He made it clear in my perception of things that this was His greatest delight and ultimate goal, to please the Father and accomplish His purposes. When we come to this place in our walk with the Christ, we enter into His delight found in accomplishing the Father’s will and fulfilling His purpose.

Obedience is not a choice for the true believer. It is the ultimate sign, the proof of sincere and eternal relationship through Christ. When we receive Christ, He places His Spirit within us. His Spirit, like Father and Son, will not say one thing while doing another. That is the spirit of hypocrisy.

When we are in true relationship with the Father through the Christ, His Spirit comes to make us one with them in thought, intent and action. Though we may fall on occasion, we will quickly rise up as soon as we realize it, dust ourselves off with the brush of repentance and turn to walk in fellowship with Him through obedience again.

The amplified version can be a challenge to read, but remove the brackets and note the beauty of fellowship: “And this is how we may discern daily, by experience, that we are coming to know Him—to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him: if we keep, bear in mind, observe, practice His teachings, His precepts, and His commandments.”

Can it be any clearer in showing the importance of our coming into agreement with His ways as sign-proof that we walk in relationship with Him? If that is not enough, look again at the next sentence, minus the brackets: “Whoever says, ‘I know Him, I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him,’ but fails to keep and obey His commandments and teachings is a liar, and the Truth of the Gospel is not in him.”

There are whole people groups that believe it does not matter what they do Monday through Saturday as long as they are set apart and sanctified to Him on Sunday. This passage blows that philosophy out of the water, as that old saying goes. It does not float. It does not flow with the stream of God’s righteousness. It sinks to the bottom with the sludge and slime.

“But he who keeps and treasures His Word, who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety, truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected, completed, and reached maturity” (vs. 5, AMP). This verse instructs our obedience. Here we see that true obedience:

† Keeps His word as a treasure: Oh what joy it is to read and study God’s word as a treasure hunt and, finding nuggets of great worth, to hide it in one’s heart as resource for life and living; bounty that dictates and directs one’s path. Those who truly know Him are not afraid of His discipline, realizing that is what proves them to be His chosen child and it is what He does to make us more like Himself, the spitting image of our Father. These rejoice with understanding that His word is used by Him in the power of His Spirit to teach us, for “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What joy it is to know that God cares how we think and that even the littlest of choices that direct our path with Him is important to Him. Treasure it and let that treasure supply and equip your adequacy as His beloved child. In doing so, we…

† Bear in mind His precepts: Every decision in life is brought under the microscope of His word. It is what we use in choosing life or death, good or evil, blessing or curse. His word is truth and will lead us to the truth of His will for us even in this day and age. It is not obsolete. It is a guiding light, a lamp to the feet of those who know how to treasure it and rightly use it.

† Who observes His message in its entirety: God can and does use a verse to give us direction, especially in situations that are not clearly defined in Holy text; but that one or two verse message from Him will always stand in agreement with the whole of His word. It will never lead us contrary to Him and His ways. This is why it is important that we know the whole.

I.e.: if you want to know what God’s word says about giving, you don’t just look at one verse and say, “That is it!” You look at all places in scripture that speak of giving and, reading it in context, pull it all together to get the full picture. Someone just looking at one verse may believe that they are required of God to give to their own harm and the harm of their family. A little digging and we find that God’s word says to give according to our means and what we are able to do without harming self and those we are tasked to care for.

Does that mean we never have to give sacrificially? No, but it does mean that God does not put us on the street while using our means to put another in a mansion. That is the world’s way, not Gods. God’s way uses the surplus of those who have to help those in any true, proven need and it does it in a way that does not keep the needy dependent on us, but that helps and even requires them to come up higher. God’s way requires all to grow to a place of no longer being needy, but being able to give.

“…truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected, completed, and reached maturity.”

When we get to the point in our walk with God that reading His word is no longer a chore, but a joy; coming to a place where even His words of discipline are a treasure to us that we hide in our hearts for use in directing our path, we come to a place of maturity in Him. Those who are mature in Him hear His voice calling us to dig deep and find the whole of His truth on the subjects of life.

“By this we may perceive, know, recognize, and be sure that we are in Him: Whoever says he abides in Him ought, as a personal debt to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.”

We can have full assurance of our relationship with God and our eternal destination by the growth we have in us in this area of our Christian walk and faith.

Jesus knew the whole of the Word of God and how to use it. And He has given us His Spirit to teach us. What does John say at the God-breathed inspiration of His Spirit: “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).

It is good to have teachers. They are tasked with and help our spiritual growth and understanding. But the greatest joy of any teacher is when the student becomes the teacher, surpassing even them in their growth and understanding. That only happens as we realize that Jesus gave us His Spirit to be our teacher in His stead.

We can trust the Spirit to instruct us, and He often will use others to confirm our hearing Him. It is exciting when God teaches me something new to me, and then I hear that same teaching from behind the pulpit or out of the mouth of some teacher of His word that I know to be trustworthy.

Really, unless the Spirit helps us to learn, even understanding what is said to us by others who teach is impossible without Him. We should never go into an instructional setting without seeking the Spirit to teach us and help us discern truth.

Jesus, at the age of 12, sat with the teachers of His day and learned from them. Of course, He astounded them with the level of His understanding, but nonetheless, we know He had to grow His childlike mind in preparation for His glorious ministry as Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

We too are charged with growing and showing ourselves to be of Him through our growing wisdom and understanding and wise use of His precepts and commands. Child of God, if you are not growing in the power of His Spirit, you are not abiding with Him.

(Have a great weekend. See you back here next week.)