Father, thank You for helping me learn how to better grow tomatoes and prune them with a focus on fruit bearing. A lot of limbs produce no fruit. They just grow, and their growth hinders and limits fruit production. I also learned that the plant’s purpose in fruit production is to make seed so it can make more plants that can produce fruit. Apparently, pruning causes the plant to think it is dying, so it must ramp up fruit production to be sure it has viable seed ready to go. Your creation is awesome. Thank You for understanding of how Your creation works so we can make wise use of all You give us. And Lord, thank You for pruning me so I can bear more good fruit with seed that You can use for Your glory. Please remove and cleanse me of anything that hinders and limits my fruit bearing, growth, and seed spreading. In Jesus…oh yeah. And thanks for the laugh at the look on hubby’s face when I snipped a bigger non-fruit bearing branch so a smaller one with fruit on could have supply for growth. It was priceless. Amen.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalms 103:2-5
This in verse 4 really struck me. Forgiveness 1: participates with Christ’s redemptive work toward the person we forgive. We accept Christ’s payment for the sin done against us. He bought it, so the sin done against us is no longer ours to punish or exact payment for through vengeance. It’s God’s to deal with. Let it go. And then…
2: He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion, not only covering us with His, but crowning us with responsibility, authority and resource to give our love and compassion in His name to those we forgive. His mercy is new every morning. His compassions fail not. This is the reservoir – the River – of resource we work out of as we practice forgiveness toward others.
Father, thank You for empowering forgiveness in me through Your redemptive work toward those who sin against me. I accept the price You paid and relinquish their debt to You. Now pour forth through me Your lovingkindness and compassion to them. Make it new and fresh every morning, and may they see You in my eyes and feel You in my love actions. In Jesus, amen.
“I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, WHEN ONCE YOU HAVE TURNED AGAIN, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32
We turn away. God doesn’t. Jesus knew that Peter would fall. He also knew that Peter would get back up, dust off, and turn back to follow Jesus: looking to Him and walking with Him anew. And Jesus knew that during the process, Peter would learn valuable truth he would then be able to use to strengthen and encourage others.
We are perfect in Christ, our essence already seated with Him in the Kingdom of God, assured of our position with Christ for all eternity. When we leave this world to cross over the line at those pearly gates, all of this world and worldliness will be burned away, so only righteousness and godliness enters in those Heavenly walls. All of this world that is still attached to us will be no more, but in our flesh existence and fleshly battles here and now, we are continually being perfected.
Just as a child learns by trial and error, gaining strength and maturing, so are we to do in this journey. Get up, dust off, turn back to Jesus, continue walking with Him, take what we learn to heart, and strengthen others. The more we do that, the better we get at letting go of world and worldliness now, the less there will be to burn away when our earthly body gives way to eternal glory.
“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.” Colossians 3:1-2 AMPC
The picture from YouVersion uses the word “heart” in place of mind. “Mind, thought, think, be mindful, understand,” is the more accurate translation, but I believe “heart” covers the intent of the passage. We are to set our heart’s desires on the things of God.
All we are is to want the things above where God is, not the things of this world. Beyond simply keeping God’s desire, design, and purpose in mind, we are to hold it as our greatest treasure, desiring alignment with it and achievement of it above all else.
Put your heart into it. Set your heart’s desire, with every thought, on things above where God is.
My understanding and belief is that God is One God, but He manifests Himself to us in three distinct entities. It is a truth that can be difficult, at best, to describe, and near to impossible to comprehend. In fact, without the aid of God’s Spirit, this truth is so beyond our finite mind’s ability to comprehend, that I believe this to be the greatest cause to doubt the existence of God found in humankind. Thinking on this, as I study on the Third Entity of the Triune One, something said brought to mind identical triplets.
Identical triplets form from one egg that splits itself into three entities. These three look so much alike that it can be near impossible to tell them apart. They think alike and have similar interests because they are one, but they also have clear distinctions, recognized by those who know them best, distinct characteristics that mark each as their own being.
This is what I understand of God. God says He is One; yet he expresses Himself to us in three different entities, identical beings that possess distinct attributes that define their roles in their triune function as one being.
- God the Father is the God Head of the Triune. He houses all knowledge, understanding, and eternal insight, along with all holiness that cannot even look on evil. This headship is expressed in scripture by Jesus’ proclamation that only the Father knows the time of The returning Christ (Matthew 24:33, 36-39 ).
- God the Son is the physical manifestation of the God Head. He is the Spoken Word of creation, the Angel of the Lord of Old Testament, Jesus the Christ who brings the massage of God and reveals God’s who to us in the New Testament. When He comes, He can be touched, heard, seen, and He can touch us. Jesus is the head of His body, the true and living church.
- God the Spirit is the Holy Presence and manifest Power of the God Head. He dwells in us to bear His image through us, equipping and empowering us, making us one with the Triune and enabling our unity with one another. He is the power of God at work in and around us.
When I first received Jesus, my focus in growth was totally on Him. Still today I see many, longtime Christians whose focus is Jesus. But after some time, the Spirit began showing me that Jesus came to make the Father known; that it is the Father we are to pray to in the name and authority of Jesus, as a representative of the interests, priorities, and purposes of Christ. And that we are to seek to know the Father. So I asked Jesus to reveal the Father to me, and began a glorious journey of ever growing relationship with Abba. The difference between Father and Son entities of the Triune One grow ever clearer, helping me better relate with each and the Whole.
Through the years I have also looked closely at the power and work of God, the Holy Spirit, but lately I have been drawn to realize Him as an individual part of the triune that desires to be known and acknowledged. He makes us one with the Father and Son in thought, desire, purpose, and action, and the Father jealously desires association with His Spirit actively working in us. So I have been digging anew, asking Father through Christ to make me know His Spirit with greater intimacy.
The Spirit of God is the Fruit Bearer. He is the seed of Christ that works in us to empower and enliven the image God created to be ours, but that sin killed and Satan stole from us. That image comes forth as fruit of the Spirit produced in all of us. It proves our relationship with Father bought for us by the Son and made alive anew in us as we cooperate with the Spirit. Each possess all these fruits to the degree that we surrender to God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These make up our who by the power of God’s Spirit enlivened in us. These are ours to the degree that these make us who we are.
Another thing found in my study of God’s Spirit that I have known a long while in part, but that strikes me today of greater importance to understand, has me pausing to grasp this fact more fully. The Spirit of God “gifts” us for ministry and for victory in Christ. The gifts of the Spirit are different from the fruit. The fruit is our who, the gifts are our do. The truth I need to realize more deeply and with greater trust is that The Spirit faithfully gifts us for each encounter or situation with gifts like prophecy, service, teaching; exhortation; giving, and mercy, to name a few. There are gifts we work out of most frequently, but the Spirit also recognizes the need of the moment and fully equips us for that need. We do not have to worry about what to say or do in any given moment when we trust God’s equipping through the power of His Spirit in us.
Therein lies my focus and the prayer of my heart. Father God knows what my day holds and the people I will encounter. He knows each need and the way He desires to express Himself to me and others. Holy Spirit knows the Father’s heart toward me and those around me, and He moves in me to make me ready, adequately equipped and gifted for every good work, as best expresses God’s image and power into each situation and every encounter. The work of God’s Spirit is here to help me yes; but more importantly, He is here to equip me to express the Father into the lives of others for their encouragement, so they may be built up in their faith and service. I pray for that gifting and for surrender to the work of God’s Spirit through me for the glory of the Triune.
How are you doing on this journey of growing relationship with God in the form of His identical-triplet representation: Father, Son, and Holy Presence? May we each be found faithfully growing strong relationships with our One God’s Three Expressions of His One Person. And may we each surrender self to His manifest glory made known in us. He is faithfully making us as He is and desires us to be.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 NASB
The world or worldly. This passage defines “all that is in the world” as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Considering this malady today, my thoughts settle on the eyes.
I know that lust resides in my dead flesh. The flesh wants what it wants. When revived from the death of sin bought for me by Jesus, that flesh with its passions and desires rises to draw me away from God and His desires for me. That enlivening begins in the eyes.
When my eyes fall to something flesh desires, the lust of the eyes excites the flesh. Then that flesh woman in me raises up from the dead to spark life back into the boastful pride of life in me as it did in Eve.
The lie of Satan is seed that is passed from parent to child. When lust of eye tweaks lust of flesh to resurrect itself, that seed of Satan starts talking in my own voice. “Surely one taste won’t hurt. I am strong and can just have one. God won’t mind as long as I reassert my self control. I can do it.”
I’ve fallen to this trap of fleshly lust over and over, especially in my way of eating. One reason for that is my knowing that no food is evil in itself. It’s my lust of flesh that is evil, and it knows how to trap me into making food an idol that too readily enslaves me. The lie is thinking “I” can be strong enough for anything. The trap is pride that ignores the first step into it: the focus of my eyes on an idol that too easily enslaves me.
Today, as I consider these things, I realize that the first step toward victory over the lust of my flesh is to look away from that which caught my eye’s attention. This may be the physical sighting of a delectable morsel, or it may simply be my mind’s eye allowing it’s focus to shift off course. Look away and turn gaze back on God.
Step two: do battle with pride. Take every prideful thought captive and make it bow to the name of Jesus as Lord and the Spirit of God as ally to our ability to do anything, knowing that “I” is unable to do anything apart from God. Take self thoughts captive to God’s desires for me, His power to overcome given to me. Refocus on relationship with Him and my desire to please Him above all else, keeping Him as the Lord and one true God over me. Set my mind and keep it set on walking in eternal victory. Keep it set on Temple life.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
James 1:12-15 NLT
The lust of the flesh keeps me in the grave of sinful passions. But God! By His grace, it is no longer “I” who live as flesh, but Christ lives in me through the power of His Spirit. His Spirit gives true life to me as I walk in believing faith and trust in God. By God’s Spirit alone, I have power to overcome the passions and desires of my flesh. Walk in victory with me and let’s be made whole.
God has determined our appointed times and the boundaries of our habitation, putting us in this life at this time in history for a purpose. He has a plan and a destiny for us.
Discovering His planned destiny for self requires us to first walk out His purpose in developing the habit of seeking Him. He desires us to seek Him as if, perhaps, we might actually feel around for Him and find Him, knowing that He is not far from each one of us.
It is in Him that we live and move and exist, and it is by His grace and provision that we discover and fulfill our God ordained destiny. He is waiting for you and for me.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, SO THAT you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 NASB
“However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:16-17 NASB
“God’s Word is always true whether people believe it or not, but without faith, the Word will not be activated.” (Patricia King)
I don’t like the word “activate” when it comes to God’s Word. The word “activate” gives faith a power it doesn’t have. God’s Word was activated the instant it left Him, and IT WILL accomplish its purpose because of Him. It is working all around us and even in us, whether or not we believe it.
But faith does APPROPRIATE God’s Word in our lives: possessing faith to believe, we open up to the effectiveness of God’s Word in us. And it doesn’t take much faith to invite God to have His way in our lives. Jesus said it only takes a mustard seed of faith. The smallest seed of faith that is capable of growth opens our lives to God.
We don’t power God’s work. He powers ours as even the possession of faith is given by Him (Romans 12:3). He portions out faith to us as He intends, granting us power to believe. It is our responsibility to receive and use it for His glory as good stewards in walking His Word out in life by faith that believes God.
As we accept the faith God’s Word raises up in us and stop fighting against it, God’s Word enlivens us, His Spirit gets a foothold, and our lives begin to align with Him.
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” – Luke 17:5-6 NASB
“Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord God be a witness against you, The Lord from His holy temple. For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under Him And the valleys will be split, Like wax before the fire, Like water poured down a steep place. All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. …” – Micah 1:2-5 NASB
Church, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and spared the eternal death of separation from God, saved from being cast into eternal hell. Proof of this grace in us is seen as we turn from sin by the power of His Spirit, to bear the fruit of righteousness in likeness to Christ. And we are continually being perfected, as we, day by day, walk free of our sin nature and become more Christlike, choosing Him more and more. But we, as His people, are not spared from the consequences of sin in this life now.
The world – people who have not received Christ and who are the true “walking dead”, cannot be expected to recognize and walk free of sin, being separated from Him and without His Spirit to teach them what sin is. It is because of us, who know what sin is, but give ourselves to it anyway, or give harty approval of it by condoning sin as ok, that discipline of a nation comes.
By the power of God’s Spirit today, look at self first: where is God calling you personally to repentance? Once you have taken care of personal business with God, then look at the Church as a whole: where are we giving approval to sin? If you share the Name of God in Christ, repent. Perhaps God will have mercy on US again.
Beloved, if we are truly in Christ, we have been crucified with Him; and it is no longer us who live, but Christ lives in us. The life we now live in the flesh we must live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us. He is in us and for us, and we are made new in Him.
In Christ, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form and that continues within us as we walk through life in Him and for Him. In Him we have been made complete, as all the fullness of deity dwells in us through Christ.
He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. By His grace, we are renewed in the spirit of our minds. Putting on the new self, we are in the likeness of God which has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. In Him we are holy and blameless before Him – chosen to be so in Christ.
By grace, we are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of the promise and we are enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, for in Him we live and move and exist. We, who have come to know and believed the love which God has for us, bear the fruit of all He is in us through Christ. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: these attributes and more live in us and make us who we are in Christ. Humble, meek, lowly – able to die to self for His name’s sake; abundant in the power of God and in His grace sufficient for us.
God is love. The one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, we also are in this world. Because of His great love, the Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Therefore, we rightly represent Him as patience flows through us for love’s sake.
Beloved, if you are in Christ, you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. We do this best, not only through words, but through actions and reactions that reveal Him living and active in us.
Therefore do not become partners with those who refuse Him, those who walk in the darkest of darkness; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light, and light is what you are.
You are the salt of the earth. Remain in Christ, for He is the One who keeps you effective and flavorful, as salt must be. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are within it’s illumination.
God put you in the place and position you are in, for this season, in this age, and you are here with purpose. You are light, set in place to stand out in contrast to all the darkness around you. You are salt, to season, preserve, protect, cleanse, and flavor all He sprinkles you into. Let your light shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Let your saltiness fall on all, with hope of God penetrating their lives and preserving their eternal souls. Be as He is and watch what He will do in and through you in Christ.
Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:23-24; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 1:5; Acts 17:28; 1 John 4:16-17; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 5:7-13; Matthew 5:13-16
His science is flawless.
I hear it every day, people boasting the science concerning COVID, both for and against the truths concerning the disease and the treatments, including the vaccine. Here’s what I know: no one fully knows. Science is a learning tool. It helps figure out truth, but until truth proves out through consistent, broad range, experience, science is theoretical. They don’t fully know one way or the other.
God fully knows, not only the disease and the treatments, but the reason and purpose behind its source: whether sent by an enemy intent on destruction, or brought about by God in fulfilling His plans and purposes. God fully knows my body and yours. He knows how the disease will effect each individual. He knows what each treatment will do and which my body will respond best to. He comprehensively understands the science behind the vaccine and the disease.
So, instead of looking at constantly changing scientific theory before it knows, ask the God-who-knows-all His opinion for your dealings with the disease and it’s potential remedies – healing aids. He promises to give needed wisdom to us when we ask with faith to follow His response. Once you get His response, trust Him for the outcome. Trust His purpose and plan. He is always working in and through us for eternal good.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Double-minded: tossed to and fro by the mind of one’s flesh arguing with the mind of Christ given in the power of God’s Spirit.)
— James 1:5-8
Love does not keep an account of wrongs suffered, adding them all together and holding them against a person. That’s an easy one to see. But do we realize this?
Counting up the good I do to someone I love, with thought that they aren’t loving me in the same way, adding my good against them, is the same thing.
It is counting up wrongs suffered by lifting my good as opposed to their lack of it as I see it, and that is in opposition to true love as God defines it.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Love trusts God to reward “my good”.
Love loves because it is who I am in Christ, and it is what I do to please my God, who is love.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Many people see grace and mercy as being the same things, but they aren’t. Scripturally, grace and mercy are two sides of the same coin, distinctly different, and both necessary for redemption, sanctification, and the work of completion.
Mercy is what most use to define both. Mercy is unmerited favor. It is God’s work to protect, provide, and direct to good that we do not deserve – at all, nor can we. Mercy has nothing to do with our ‘do’ and everything to do with God’s ‘Who’. He loves us, therefore He gives us His mercy. He loves us, thus we experience Him deliver us from consequences our actions and choices deserve. When we are spared a just outcome to unrighteous choices and actions, that is mercy. Woo! The stories of mercy I could tell.
Grace is God’s power made perfect in our weakness, giving us strength and ability (2 Cor. 12:9). We cannot produce the fruit of God in our lives apart from His grace at work in and through us. We cannot serve God or know and do His will, His way without His grace powering it. We cannot even possess and work out of faith in God apart from His grace to power our faith. Mercy gifts us a measure of faith; grace empowers us to use that faith.
We cannot be saved apart from Mercy. And we cannot live Christ apart from grace. We cannot be right within ourselves without mercy; we cannot live outwardly the right mercy produces in us apart from grace pouring through us. Mercy saves. Grace sanctifies.
In these difficult days, many of us stand in shock, horrified by the worldly things growing more rampant around us. We cry out for God to come quickly, and we plead for our children and grandchildren to be set free from the fleshly, the worldly, and the demonic wisdom ruling the world in our day.
Peter, in 2 Peter 3, exhorts us to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, spotless and blameless, and to “regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” He is not slow about His promises as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, wishing none to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 14-18 NASB)
As long as God tarries, there is hope for those we love. And the proof of His patience is “me,” as we say with Paul, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. ….” 1 Timothy 1:15-17 NASB
Remembering the patience of God toward the sinner, especially toward self, is vital to our ability to have patience and walk in His peace during troubling times. Jesus Christ demonstrates His perfect patience through us as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. A study of patience, then, necessitates that we remember God’s patience toward us and the testimony that truth speaks to others.
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word, being ready in season and out of season to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with great patience and instruction. In verse 5 He says, “be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.”
Our ministry in the Spirit is reconciliation: to take every opportunity and be ready at all times to share the faith we have in Christ and His love for us, with the hope that those who hear will be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB)
“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE INHERIT THE PROMISES.” Hebrews 6:10-12 NASB
Patient endurance in trouble and faithful ministry in the Lord, flowing from trust in Him, inherits His promises. We, who are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus can trust God for every promise made to those who are righteous, including His faithfulness toward the next generations. Patiently wait with peaceful endurance.
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. …” James 5:7-11 NASB
God is patient, and He will keep His promises in due season. We can trust that truth. God is patient, compassionate, and merciful, and He hears our hearts’ cries. Our trust in Him to fulfill His good word to us is vital for patient endurance, assuring our hearts. God’s trustworthiness is the power that produces true patience in us who enter His rest through belief. Think on that when your patience is tested.
Thus, we review our keys as we add two final key to the Unlocking of Patience
Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.
Key 2: Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.
Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.
Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Key 5: Patience is our clothing in Christ. It covers our hearts like clothing, protecting and revealing who we are as God’s people in Christ Jesus, as we practice unconditional love toward others.
Key 6: Patience aligns with God’s patience. Remembering the patience of God toward sinners, especially His patient work in us, strengthens our patience as we await His work in others.
Key 7: Patience flows out of and reveals our faith that trusts God to fulfill His promises and bring all to completion.
John’s Baptism vs. Baptism in Jesus
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5
This passage made me ask, “John’s baptism is in water for repentance. Into what is the baptism of Jesus: what’s the difference?” Here is what a quick Literal Word app search found.
1. In this focal passage, the first thing to note is that John’s baptism calling for belief in Jesus who was yet to be revealed, was no longer needed once Jesus came into view. Thus we now have the assurance of salvation revealed.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. — Matthew 3:11; see also Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16
2. Baptism of Holy Spirit (drenched in the Spirit) and fire (signifies cleansing / purification).
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, — Matthew 28:19
3. Instead of baptism in the name of John, it’s in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – the Triune One.
He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. — Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12
4. Baptism of belief in Christ, who is now visible to us, disclosing Himself to all who believe unto obedience in Christ.
I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ — John 1:33
5. Baptism of Holy Spirit union – he remains on us, in us, through us.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. — Acts 2:38
6. Baptism into Christ is for the forgiveness of sin, not just for repentance. We are forgiven.
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 19:4-5
7. Baptized in the powerful, all-sufficient name of Jesus.
Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ — Acts 22:16
8. Calling on the name of Christ in baptism washes away our sin, to be remembered no more. Gone. Made white as pure snow that reflects His light.
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? — Romans 6:3
9. Baptized into His death, thus the death of sin no longer has power in us.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. — 1 Corinthians 12:13
10. Baptized into one body – made one together in Christ – in one Spirit.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. — Galatians 3:27
11. Baptized in Christ = clothed with Christ: the image of God rebirthed in us, made alive and well in and on us.
Make sure you are baptized into Christ.
In these days, so many are finding themselves struggling with worry, fretting, depression, fear, and so many emotional issues that hinder function and ability to know Wisdom. We need peace of mind, heart, soul. But if we keep looking at things outside ourselves to bring it, we will continue to miss it, thinking it something we must chase after when, truly, if we know The Christ and are home to His Spirit, Peace – True Peace is within us, ready to flow to us and through us as a fresh, spring flow of Living Water.
We don’t have to chase it, learn it, or grapple for it. We only have to be still, cease striving, let be and know God, and He will give it – His good gift, pressed down, shaken together, and running over for others to feed off of while in our presence.
We can’t give others what we, ourselves, do not have, and we can’t truly possess that which we fail to recognize as belonging to us. Love, joy, peace PATIENCE, and all the nine flavors of the Spirit are our personal possession because we are His and He is within us. Take a deep Breath of stillness, receive your Peace, and have a BLESSed day.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 NASB
“If you never forgive yourself how can you forgive others. Just a thought.” (Aleshia Beth Barnett)
“Forgiveness being a love action: how can we love others when we can’t love ourselves.” (My thought-reply in response)
Pictured is a post from a dear friend, daughter to one of my best friends, who struggles as I have. I know many who have struggled to love through forgiveness. Her statement took me immediately to what God has taught me that has delivered me so mightily, setting me free to love as He loves.
With her permission, stemming off her ponderings, I share with you this freedom that is yours in Christ. Only Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, can give this love to and through us.
Here’s my advice to those struggling to forgive self and others: Learn of God’s love. Not only so you can rest in Him and in His presence, free from the fear of eternal punishment, but because THAT is the love He places in us and causes to flow through us. So we should learn all we can to know His love and seek daily to grow strong His image of Love in us.
God’s Agapé Love is the only love strong enough to equip us to forgive our enemies and do good to them, as God desires; and His gift to us in the Spirit is the only love by which we can truly forgive self and those we love, the way we want and need to. To get there, ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes, ears, mind, and heart to believe, receive, and possess this gift. Then work through the following passages. May God bless you, in the power of His love to and through you. By the living power of God in Jesus, The Christ. Amen
Abiding: God in Christ living through us by the power of the Spirit in us and us possessing Life in Him by the work of His Spirit in and through us, is vital.
Bearing the fruit of God’s image, being as He is by surrender to the work of the Spirit in us, is vital.
Being Love, as He is Love in us, is vital.
Note the actions of love listed that require forgiveness. Understanding what Love looks and acts like is vital.
Being Love depends on who “I” am and what “I” desire to be, not on what others do to “me”. Committing to this truth and walking it even toward one called “enemy” is vital to our obedience in rightly portraying God’s image in us.
It is vital to realize that Love fulfills the Law, trusting God to be God toward us and those we love, even when they hurt, steal, kill, and seek to destroy us, being enemies to us. Love is first toward God, trusting His Love to do right in all that concerns us.
A little footnote here, for those who might wonder: Love should prevail even in war against those who, as an enemy, would force a fight. We do so, going to the fight out of love for those we fight to protect. And we do so, out of love for God as a people who stand for right as God sees it.
We fight against an enemy for righteousness sake. And we do so as guided by Love, not out of vengeance, hate, bitterness, and anger, but desiring righteousness and trusting God to handle the consequences to those who wish us harm, on whom our weapons of war fall.
Choosing to be love as He is Love, even in war, protects us from hate, bitterness, and anger, that harms self, by destroying God’s image of Love in us. Love: true, deep, abiding Love that forms our “who” to be as He Is, is vital for all occasions.
“For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.” Colossians 3:3-4 AMPC
Wow. Think on that for a bit: not only in the eternal, future sense, but in the here and now reality of life. Our new, REAL life is hidden with Christ in God. When we let Christ live in us, surrendering to Him, then the true “me” will appear with Him in the splendor of His glory. BEAUTIFUL!
Want to shine in Life? Die so Christ can Live and we can walk in the beauty of the Lord.
“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20 AMPC
“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord NEVER does anything until he reveals His plans to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 NLT)
There are many who believe that God no longer has prophets today. They believe the prophet made law and are no longer needed as God’s law is complete.
What I see is that the prophet was used of God to REMIND people of law and warn them when they are living contrary to it. They warned the people of things coming to them because of sin: their own or that of others. And they instructed them in the righteous path.
I believe that still is God’s way today, not only because I believe His Word and that “never” as used in our focal verse means “NEVER”. I also believe because God has told me what was coming our way more than once, and it came. I believe because He also used me to warn others, instruct their response, and lead them in prayer, thus strengthening them to face the day of the fulfillment of God’s Word.
One of my first experiences was warning for my husband and his friend he carpooled with to work. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew something really bad was coming to them and I tried to get them to stay home. Of course, being the faithful worker he is, my husband went to work with the warning to be alert and warn his friend as well. By 10:00 AM, hubby called. A piece of heavy equipment dropped its load, knocking his friend from his perch, breaking his back, and plummeting him to the ground many feet below.
Two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, knowing devastation was coming, God had me calling people to pray, telling them that the Spirit in me was weeping, bitterly. These experiences grew me to discern and trust God’s Spirit, instructing me. Then His instruction became more clear. I.e.:
Before 911, God told me a disaster would hit the US, reaching from New York City to Washington DC. It would devastate this nation and, indeed, the world. And that the damage would be likened to an earthquake (which I heard a reporter, standing on the rubble, liken it to). When He led me to warn people and call them to prayer, I experienced His truth that, “The lion has roared—so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—so WHO CAN REFUSE TO PROCLAIM HIS MESSAGE?” (Amos 3:8 NLT). We prayed for two years.
I have had other such experiences since 911, but not as big.
I was raised in a religion that believes God no longer has prophets. God patiently worked with me to trust His Spirit’s instruction and warning of things to come. He taught me to know that when He tells me to speak, it is on Him to prove my words. But if I refuse obedience and fail to warn those He sends me to, their harm is on me. I dare not refuse to proclaim God’s warning and instruct God’s people when He calls me to do so.
Beloved, God still works as He did in Holy Writ. That is what our Bible is, the story that teaches us who our God is and the way of God with those who believe. It is up to us to decide whether we believe and trust His ways, and whether we will obey Him when He warns us. To refuse to believe God still has prophets is to slam the door in His face and fall to sin. We, as His warriors, must be ready to be His voice of warning, instruction, prayer, trust, and truth.
“Then (Jesus) said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”” (Luke 10:16 NLT)
My Aunt Edna shared about training their baby bird to talk. Repeat a phrase often enough and they will begin to try saying it. As they continue speaking it, their words get more and more clear. She also shared a story that told me the use of the phrase at appropriate times, linking action with word, helps the bird link words to actions, helping them learn the appropriate use of the words spoken.
As I read her story, it made me realize how true that is for us, listening to the word of God. The more we hear and see it appropriately used, the more we begin to speak it appropriately. The more we hear and speak it truly, the more our minds and hearts soak it up by believing faith that produces appropriate actions. The stronger our faith to believe the word received, the stronger our walk in living it out, bearing the fruit it produces in us.
Hummmm…. perhaps having child like faith means – in part – to have hearts and minds constantly ready to hear and receive God’s Word to us, never getting so big for our britches that we are unable to learn of Him and grow stronger in living the Word He gives.
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:17-21 NASB
Written December 8, 2017
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMPC
Most of us have times of struggle to be in the Word of God, to even read it comprehensively, much less to have any depth of personal study in it. Why is that?
Scripture tells us that the Word of God is profitable to us. God’s word is the seed of God’s Kingdom, sent to establish us as His people (Luke 8:4-15). God’s Word is a mirror, helping us to look more like our Father (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC). God’s word is a sword, useful for defeating enemy assaults, and faithfully used by God in separating old man mentality and fleshly desire from the eternal purpose of making us the new creation we are in Christ (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13). And, as Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, God’s Word has purpose for us, instructing in the ways and will of God, convicting of sin, correcting error, disciplining us in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living; in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).
All of this has the purpose of making us complete and proficient, being adequately equipped for the good work that God planned for us to accomplish. So, yes, our flesh, the world’s demands, and demonic influence (all being the false wisdoms of this life) is going to fight against our time in God’s Word. God’s enemy, Satan, does not want this profit produced in us. He does not want to admit his defeat.
Scripture is vital food for fruitful lives God can use. Think for a minute, asking the Father for inspired insight. What most often hinders you having time every day in God’s Word? Is there something you can do to thwart that enemy assault on your God given treasure?
Even a few minutes to grasp a portion of scripture to carry with you throughout your day, meditating on it, digesting every morsel of nourishment from it, will be life changing: increasing profit for the need of your life. Refuse to let the enemies of godly wisdom to steal one more seed of profit from you (James 3:13-18).
God showed me long ago the dangers of looking back, but it is probably one of my biggest battle grounds in this season. In plowing, looking back often leads to crooked rows. We are charged to walk the straight and narrow. It requires focus on our here and now steps into the opportunities of the day.
I think we all know that it is dangerous to look back to days of sin and failure, letting guilt and shame for our past grab hold to stop, hinder, and deaden us. Through life experience, I have learned that the most dangerous thing to do is look back to when things seemed better, easier, more vital. We invite discouragement, dissatisfaction, discontent, when we fail to be where we are, giving attention to the challenges and opportunities in front of us. We miss out on better, easier, and more vital before us when longing for what used to be. Our ability to appreciate what we have is easily dammed up by yesteryear’s bygone-victories.
Keeping focus on next step challenges seems especially difficult in seasons of life when health issues and discerning the path of retirement are the tasks before us. Discerning the significance of daily care of a mate or child can be hard to appreciate. Seeing the path of retirement as vital to eternity is challenging, especially in light of debilitating health issues. The same is true in the slumps of daily life and changing paths of younger years. The subject is ageless and timeless.
The thing I see, as my husband and I go through this time of life, is that others are watching how we face the life challenges that come to each day. They look at our faith and trust in God and His Word. They watch our peace and contentment barometers.
Our biggest prayer right now is that we will maintain stable and loving relationship with each other now that we will be together more. We’ve seen couples in this season get on each other’s nerves and become soil for constant bickering, gripping, and complaining. We have never been that way before, and we don’t want to be that now. So we cry out to the One who makes us one.
Beloved, people watch us as we go through life. Even when we are not in ministry, our way of life, our doing and being, impact those watching. We are of a Holy Priesthood, charged to represent Christ as priests unto God. What is it Jesus said?
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:40 NASB)
The way we treat one another is important. It is our greatest ministry to God, when we care for one another. Even the smallest graces have huge rewards potential that may not be evident until we stand before our God and King. The things we deem great in ministry likely count for nothing if we fail to minister grace, love, and light to those with us.
The older I get, the more I believe that this is true because we are one in Christ. When we fail to set a godly example in our care for each other, we break unity and look more like the worldly, rather than the godly.
Beloved, keep eyes forward, on the row ahead, making it straight and ready for a harvest, fed and watered by faithfulness to God and each other. Learn from the past and bear the fruit of it into the present, but don’t let what was dictate what is to come.
The way we are in each mundane day makes a difference in the fruit born out of it. It requires focus on where we are and where our next action step falls. It requires us to keep our hands on the plow, pushing forward to the end of the straight and narrow row. And it requires us to remember that our attitudes and care for others top the charts of importance where successful ministry to God is concerned.
These late years for us are not a time to slow down, but a time to lean in on the plow. It’s the smallest of kindnesses that can reap the greatest harvest. Our work has only just begun.
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans 12:2 AMPC)
Be transformed – changed forever by surrender to God, who works to renew our minds, bringing into us the new ideals and new attitudes that line up with His. We become one with Him, being like Him, as we surrender to His transforming work in us.
Note the wording used here. It doesn’t say that He gives us new ideas, though He can and does do that. The word used is “ideals”.
An idea is a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. An ideal is satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable. God changes our understanding of good, right, true, and the perfected best as our understanding of the ideal adjusts to meet up with His.
When our way of thinking lines up with God’s IDEAL, our IDEAS will flow from that understanding of what is perfect and most suitable. Our choices and decisions will be directed by the IDEAL He births within us. The more we seek to understand and line up with God’s IDEAL, the more of His character, nature, and image we will possess and live out into the world around us.
Seek God for His IDEAL today, and see your attitudes, actions, and reactions lifted to the greater heights of God’s glory and grace.
Written by me on April 3, 2017.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB.
Reading this passage, the fact the Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” grabs my attention, as it has grabbed me many times before. Jesus took up a cross that truly belongs to such a wretch as I, for the joy it would lead to. As I read this today, three questions come to heart for me to ponder:
1. What “joys” might have been on the heart of Jesus as He took up that cross?
2. What life challenge or sin that so easily entangles am I in that requires me to take a stand of endurance against it?
3. What joys lie before me that, fixing my eyes on them, will strengthen my endurance?
In this passage alone, I see hint of several things that may form some of the joys Jesus looked to.
1. Joy in the cloud of witnesses that would come forth because of His endurance.
2. Joy in the victory His endurance would produce in us as we overcome the cumbersome trouble this life too often holds.
3. Joy in the deliverance from sin His endurance would provide us.
4. Joy in the endurance we would possess as we set our eyes on His example to us.
5. Joy in the relationship with each of us that would come to Him and the Father because of His endurance.
6. Joy in the gift of grace available to us because He despised the shame and bore the cross in our place.
7. Joy in the fulfilling of the Father’s purpose, leading to His privileged position at God’s side.
There is much more we can add to this list of joys that had the focus of Jesus, strengthening His endurance. I don’t know about you, but there are many troubling situations and temptations to sin that I need this walk of endurance for, if I am to overcome and press through them in fulfilling God’s purpose and accomplishing His desire for me. Today, following Christ’s example, I set my sights on the joy before me that will strengthen my endurance, to the glory of His Name and the fulfilling of His purpose.
Assignment: Reading through Proverbs this month, I turn to chapter 3 and find there the call to persevere in several areas, followed by promised joy for successful endurance. Read Proverbs 3 and note there the call to stand firm. What “joy” do you see as a focus to aid endurance in the successful practice for each area of instruction? Now do this with your own life: List areas where your endurance is challenged. Next, list benefits of endurance that you can look forward to attaining as the joy set before you.
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3 NLT – https://www.bible.com/116/heb.1.3.nlt)
Jesus, still today, from His throne in Glory and His seat in the soul of every Christ follower, lives and breathes to radiate God’s own glory and express the very character / nature of God Almighty, the Father and creator of all. Jesus sets the example for all the children of God to follow. We too are the image of God’s glory on earth, tasked to live and breathe His character for all to see and know Him.
Now, after providing for our cleansing for all eternity, Jesus is seated in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. The right hand of God is the position of imparted power and authority. Jesus has full right as King of glory to rule on God’s behalf and see to the completion of all things as God wills. Part of that includes enduing the children of God to take up the work of Christ on earth. We now bear the responsibility to radiate God’s own glory and express the very character of God, in the name and authority of Christ.
Scripture even tells us that, in Christ, we are seated with Him in the heavenlies. As the body of Christ, we are at the right hand of the Father with Him (Ephesians 2:6). Therefore, we are given authority in Christ, and that authority empowers us in likeness to Him so we may radiate God’s own glory and express the very character of God, in the name and authority of Christ. By His Power from the Father, Jesus sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. In Christ, we go forth to complete what is lacking. As His lights, drawing many to Him, we prosper His Kingdom in His authority.
“Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing….” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB)
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 NLT)
Let us not merely say we love, but show the truth of it in action. This call to visual proof of the truth of our claim to an attribute of godliness can be applied to so many other words.
Let us show the truth by our actions.
We don’t have to tell people we love them, we care for them, we honor and respect them when they see it in the actions we take toward them. We don’t have to tell others how faithful we are, how big on integrity, how trustworthy the truth of our words, when our actions reveal it to be our true nature.
Actions do speak, and they speak loudly. Words without visible proof speak louder still. Let us decide who we are as the people of God and prove the truth of it in action.
“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him” (1 John 3:19 NASB)
“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” (Isaiah 58:8-9 NKJV)
I love Isaiah 58. It is one of my favorite passages of scripture, filled with promises from God and instruction to us for a sincere heart of fasting before the Lord.
In verses 1-7 begins instruction on the fast, which expresses the “Then Key” to obtaining the Promises. It expresses the fast God has chosen, which in short is to die to self; laying down one’s own life for others; counting the lowest, most destitute above self; taking up our cross of self-denial to follow Jesus.
And what are the promises we can unlock and possess with these keys?
Then keys unlock:
🗝 your light which breaks forth like the morning.
🗝 your healing, springing forth speedily.
🗝 your Righteousness, going before you;
🗝 The glory of the LORD as your rear guard.
🗝 you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
🗝 you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
The chapter is full of keys of selfless fasting that gains the keys to unlock the BLESSings of abundant life. Read it often. Practice it with every breath. And watch in scripture for other Kingdom keys.
“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.” (James 3:2-3 NASB)
We looked last post at the coal of fire used to cleanse the whole of Isaiah’s person by the cleansing of his lips; at how control of the tongue prevents sin. Then James points out how a horse is controlled by the bit and a bridle. That begs the question of what we can learn from the purpose and function of a bit and bridle.
This piece is the bit.
Looking at it in position on an animal, we see the bit lies over the tongue.
Researching the purpose of the bit, one thing jumps out to speak to me. The main purpose I found for the bit is to allow the rider to communicate with the horse. With training, the bit equips the horse to know the direction the rider wants to go, as well as how fast or slow to travel and when and where to stop. The amount of pressure used increases to get an unruly animal in check, and lessens to reward cooperative obedience.
As noted, the bit lies over the tongue. With regard to our relationship with God, this speaks to me of the importance of keeping the mouth still so the ears can hear and the senses can comprehend. One of the best definitions of this quiet alertness to God is Psalm 46:10.
“Cease striving, be still (quiet), stop fighting, let be and know that I am God” (KJV, NASB, AMPC, early translations of TLB, GNB)
Our listening ears have to focus. Rattling our mouths will hinder hearing with discernment. So we literally need to quiet our mouths and perk up our ears. As God’s people, we are to listen fully. In ministry to others, we are to listen to the person in front of us, listening both to their issues and listening to discern if God just placed an assignment before us. Any speaking should be to aid comprehension of the person’s true need until understanding comes and wisdom from God rises.
So, we need literally to quiet our mouths and open our ears: first to perceive God and His will, purpose, plan; and then to hear, perceive, understand those around us and their needs.
But there’s another way our “tongues” must be still. We talk without a word. We let our minds wander. Our emotional state toward the person or situation before us can lead to fuming, griping, complaining, fidgeting, feeling put upon, upset over an intrusion, excited for some opportunity, or a sundry of other thoughts, emotions, and desires that hinder ability to hear God or people. To hear we must cease striving against the situation, get our body and emotions still, quiet our thoughts, know God may be in the situation, and let Him be God in His leading and using us.
The reins connect to the bit rings, via a bridle: headgear that connects all together and aids to control the head, and thus, the whole body of the animal. Tugging left or right, pulling back or leaning forward let’s the horse know the direction, speed, and stopping place. Some animals are easily distracted or startled by things on the sidelines, so blinders are used to aid their focus. All of this aids both communication and control of the animal.
But here’s the thing we most need to know about James’ analogy:
“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.” (Psalms 32:9 NKJV)
When love and trust connect a horse and rider, the horse wants to be with and please the rider. With such a relationship, the rider can ride and communicate without bit and bridle, and the horse obey willingly and immediately. They trust each other and work together well as partners.
This is the relationship God wants with us, Beloved. He wants us to recognize and know when He is directing us and communicating His desires to us. It requires a trust that comes out of a love relationship.
When I first started really seeking God to understand His communication with me on a personal level, I first had to choose and commit myself to trust Him. I chose to first trust that He would distinguish Himself to me and protect me from the trickery of the “stranger”. I had to trust Him to give me comprehensive understanding of His “voice”, His way of speaking to my understanding. Not that I hear an actual voice, but understanding of His will and direction in a situation comes so clearly that I can say with surety, “God says to me, ‘This is the way. Walk ye in it’”
God has purposes for life that is common to all His people. But He also has a purpose and plan for each of us that is ours to discover and walk out faithfully as His servant ambassador to the world.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)
Wherever we are, God has us there for His purposes. We are to do our work as for Him, living our lives as represents Him. Some have a call to special service as ministers of God’s choosing. To fulfill that purpose we must grow to discern His lead and cooperate with His directives as He leads us to that place.
Then there are those like me, called to write (or speak) His Word of encouragement, making it clear. Without trust in God to put His Word in our hearts and minds and empower our communication, well, we better put our pen down, for a word given without faith that we truly received it from God is sin.
Beloved, how are you doing at following the will of God for us all expressed through the teachings of scripture? Does God have to force His will with His spiritual bit and bridle? He cannot entrust us with His greater calling for our lives, if we can’t obey His directives required of all who say they are His people.
What is your calling and equipping from God? Does your love for and trust in Him empower discernment of His true leading? Do you obey despite any fear of the opinion and rejection of humankind? Stubborn faith to trust Him fully is revealed through obedience productive of the fruit of righteousness. If it is Him directing your path, it will come to the fruition of His will for you.
“Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalms 37:3-5 NASB)
“For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.” (Romans 6:23 TPT)
God, through Jesus Christ, delivers us from sin’s wage of eternal separation from The Father.
Scripture tells us that all will stand before Him on the day of judgment, when sentencing is passed and all will go into their eternal reward, whether Life or death. I believe that all, goat and sheep alike, will fully know, in that instant before His throne, all the glory and love of His essence. All entering Life with Him will know the full joy of their reward. All cast into eternal death will fully comprehend the loss of everything they ever truly desired. The major flame of hell’s fires will be the burning desire to know that Presence one more time, with the sure knowledge that it is lost to them forever.
That said, as I read this passage this morning, my thoughts go to other wages of sin we receive in this life. Many who profess Christ live like whatever they do in this life is ok, seeing themselves covered by fire insurance. That is all Christ is to those with this frame of mind. Walking in relationship with Him to become like Him, bearing the image of the Father, is beyond the scope of their desire. No change that points to relationship with God through Christ is evident in them. These, I believe, are in for a rude awakening on that day.
Then there is the daily bad choices we all tend to fall into, though our focus is on following Christ in all things and our nature is obviously being transformed from glory to glory in the power of His Spirit. My thought today runs to these sins where, knowingly or not, we run headlong into the desire of our flesh, without thought of the consequences.
Consequences are wages. For good done, consequences generally produce a good wage, and that good wage will find us in glory as the gold, silver, and precious stones of our testing.
For evil we choose, consequences produce the wages of sin. These wages produce separation from God as we walk away from Him and His path for us. We may go a long while before realizing that we left His side. Repentance regains our position beside Him and is met by His leading us to get back on course.
Sin’s evil can also produce separation of relationships we value: some forever ruined, others temporarily put on hold. They produce wages such as teenage pregnancy that can throw our desired destiny off course, loss of a job, health issues, broken fellowship, etc. The list is long and unending.
Sin has a wage it gives, but it’s wages steal, they do not prosper. They always take more than they give, though we may not recognize it at the time.
God’s Grace can come in, turning our sorrow into laughter. I.e., the teenage pregnancy that robs of a destiny, but produces a child to love, find joy in, and raise as an arrow in God’s arsenal. God’s Grace toward us can restore what was stolen. But there is always a wage for sin.
Learning to stop and count the cost is a valuable habit to develop. But for our cost counting to produce a wise choice, we must value our relationship with God above all else.
God values relationship with us, thus His mercy and grace moves in to cover when we forget our love for Him and choose the lesser as more valuable. But what a waste to turn from Him as our first love, our first, most vital need and necessity to partake of the wages of sin that give little, truly only robbing of the Life of abundance that God desires for us.
Father, empower us with wisdom to count the cost of sin and choose protected relationship with You. Thank You for grace sufficient and mercy that comes to repentance, and for the covering of Christ that sets free indeed. We pray, also, for those who do not know Jesus to come into vital relationship with Him. In Christ, amen.
“So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.” (Romans 8:1 TPT)
With Insight on the Mark of 666
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” (John 6:66 NKJV – https://www.bible.com/114/jhn.6.66.nkjv)
As I read the following devotional, the address of our focal scripture caught my attention. The question hit my understanding, “Could this define the mark of Satan’s 666?”
I’m not a, what are they called, numerologist, but could the number on this address be a God thing? These chapter and verse numbers weren’t in the original writings. They were added to the scriptures later, when people preparing our text worked to make them available to all. It is to aid study and memorization.
I believe God guided the compilation and functionality of our scriptures. And, because of that question rising up as it did, I find it telling, this 666 address that points to people’s refusal to walk with Jesus.
Take this thought for what it’s worth. May the reading of Pastor Chambers devo firm up our commitment.
Are You Going on with Jesus?
My Utmost for His Highest
Holy Bible App
“It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
“The temptations of Jesus continued throughout His earthly life, and they will continue throughout the life of the Son of God in us. Are we going on with Jesus in the life we are living right now?
“We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?
“Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow—but only the voice saying, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).”