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Archive for the ‘New Testament’ Category

Some days everything’s coming up roses, but often it’s hard to move forward, maybe even to get out of bed. For times when what faces us seems to be dominating us, God has provided in anchors for the soul to hold us and keep us from slipping. Colossians 1:13 is such an anchors.

For He [Adonai] has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son [Jesus] (Amplified version)

He has rescued us. This speaks of a completed work. It requires nothing further to be complete. It can’t be undone. It won’t unravel.

We were rescued from imminent danger-the danger of death and the unavoidable wrath of God because it is the fate of man to die once and then face God’s judgment. What an amazing rescue! Without anything else that would be mind-blowing. But Paul goes on.

He has drawn us to Himself. This is the very heart of God–closeness with us, intimate relationship with us. He knows that we are surrounded by darkness–the dominion of darkness. That which has dominion over us rules us, governs us, dominates us. Our necks were under the heel of the boot of the enemy of our souls. God saved us from that. And not leaving us there, He gave us a new destination–a new Sovereign. He transferred us to the kingdom of His Son–a kingdom in which all sin has been paid for and its power eliminated. In the Kingdom of His Son, I am an adopted child, I’m grafted into a rich history with God and the people of God.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! That’s good news (gospel).

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One of the prayers I came across for Rosh HaShanah goes like this:  “Remember us for life, O King Who desires life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life for Your sake, O Living G-d”

I find this intriguing in light of the New Testament teaching on the Book of Life and those whose names will be found therein.  For example, in Revelation 3:5, we read “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”  This is Jesus who is speaking here.  He is making it clear that He, Jesus, is the one who determines whose name is in the Book of Life.

In Revelation 20:12, John tells us “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”  

Revelation 20:15 confirms the importance of the Book of Life stating that “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

In speaking of the new Jerusalem, in Revelation 21:27, John tells us “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

The interesting thing about the Book of Life in the New Testament is that it is linked to Jesus.  Jesus is the judge and only those whose names are listed in the Book of Life with be with Jesus in the new Jerusalem.

Father God, maker of heaven and earth.  Hear the prayers of our Jewish brethren this Rosh HaShanah and cause their names to be  forever written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  May they come to know Jesus, the Christ and enter into the atonement provided by His shed blood on the cross of Calvary.

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If Jesus truly had the words of eternal life as Peter said  in John 6:68, why wouldn’t everyone who heard His words accept the message of the gospel?

The answer is found in John 3, right after the well-known proclamation of God’s love for man in John 3:16, we read this:

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. John 3:19-20

Is your love for your sin keeping you from accepting the free gift of salvation?  Are you clinging to the darkness, hiding from the light, so you can continue to engage in your sin?

Don’t be deceived, Light is coming.  He will expose you for who you are and your evil deeds will be known by all.  Repent and turn from your sin and allow the Light of the World to flood the darkness of your soul.  Today is the day of Salvation!

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On the subject of prayer and in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  “Rejoice Always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

John Wesley said, “One who always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity.  He blesses God for all things, looks on them as coming from Him, and receives them only for His sake — not choosing nor refusing, liking nor disliking, anything, but only as it is agreeable or disagreeable to His perfect will.”

In essence, the heart of thanksgiving springs out of an understanding of God, His character, that He is the source of all things and that His will is to be sought above all else.  Having that focus, I can continue in a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving to God for all that He has done for me, is doing for me and will do for me.

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Considering the battle that takes place in the mind, we are continuing our look at the weapons of our warfare . . . which are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   From 2 Corinthians, we then proceeded to Ephesians 6 to review the weapons which are described by Paul there.  We pick up with the shield of faith.

  • Shield of Faithabove all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Faith is seeing what is there when it is unseen or hidden by the fog or chaos of battle. For a believer, faith will protect him or her from the lies of the enemy, aimed at undermining belief in the God who cannot be seen, but to whom all the evidence clearly points.  When negative thoughts persist, the believer needs to put the shield of faith between him and negative thoughts.  Faith will affirm that the promises of God are true and will come to pass.  For example, God will never leave us or forsake us, and God will never temp us beyond what we are able.  Believing these things is an exercise of faith.  It puts the shield of faith between us and the temptation or negative thinking.
  • The Helmet of Salvationtake the helmet of salvation.  No solider can fight in the LORD’s army without receiving the work of salvation. Jesus said, you must be born again. When we receive salvation, it is a helmet, a protective covering for our thoughts. Without the helmet, we might receive a mortal wound that would take us out of the battle.
  • The Sword of the Spiritthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   The word of God is a weapon we wield.  It can be used to answer the lies of the enemy.  Our example is Jesus, who when tempted three times in the wilderness by the devil, was able to answer each time from the word of God.  As we study, meditate on and memorize the word of God, we will be able to use the word as an offensive weapon to counter the lies of the enemy.
  • PrayerPraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.  The tool that helps us to apply the weapons and know their effectiveness in our battles is prayer.  It is our communication with God, the Supreme Commander, and it allows us access to the wisdom of the creator.  Prayer is ongoing and never-ceasing.

When you are plagued with negative thinking, consider the weapons of your warfare.  Be reminded that they are not of this world, but of the eternal realm.  They are might of God.  Review and study and apply.  You will have victory in Christ.

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This series of posts (When Negative Thoughts Persist) looks at the scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:4 “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   From 2 Corinthians, we then proceeded to Ephesians 6 to review the weapons which are described by Paul there.

All this that we might effectively battle persistent negative thoughts.  As followers of God, we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even after we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even recurring thoughts reminding of what the wrong, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.

 The mind is a battlefield, in this post, we will consider a few more of the weapons we have available to us:
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness –  having put on the breastplate of righteousness  The breastplate is a defensive weapon that protects our vital organs, those essential to life. The breastplate protects the warrior from attack aimed at the heart, lungs or other nearby organs.   We must allow Christ, His righteousness to protect us.  We are not righteous in ourselves, because no work of the flesh could ever save us or make us righteous; however, we are righteous as we stand in Christ, who provided the required sacrifice and who is our substitute, our righteousness by faith.
  • The Gospel of Truthhaving shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace   Know the Word of God.  Let it give you sure footing in battle allowing you to stay standing until the end.  When plagued with negative thoughts, review, recite, and/or meditate on a scripture promise or truth that counters the lie that the enemy would tell you.

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In our last post, we began our discussion of how to deal with persistent negative thoughts.  If we are obedient to the command of God, we know that we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even when we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even reoccurring thoughts reminding of what they did to us, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.
The mind is a battlefield, but we have weapons which are mighty in God according to 2 Corinthians, which we discussed in the last post.
In this post, I want to take a closer look at some of the weapons to see how they can help us in the battle with recurring or persistent negative thoughts (sometimes known as Stinkin’ Thinkin’)
  • The Whole Armor of God – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  No one weapon will protect a solider in battle from injury.  That is why Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God.  Leaving one piece of the armor off can expose the soldier to great injury and render him or her ineffective in battle.   Leave no weapon behind.
  • The Belt of Truth –Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth  Let truth be like a belt to keep your movement uninhibited and allow you to move quickly and easily in battle.  The belt can seem like a frivolous accessory until you get caught with your pants down.  Living in the truth and having truth as our belt keeps us from being susceptible to the devil who hates truth and is called “the father of lies.”  It may be hard to always tell the truth.  Even some of the Fathers of the Faith, like Abraham were caught in lies, but they always paid a price for the lies.  Whenever we fail to put on the belt of truth, we make it harder for us to be successful in battle for the important things.

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